Trine Rask Thygesen, ambassador of Denmark in South Africa, urged African governments and utilities to engage in developing platforms to improve public-private partnerships in financing and improving water and energy efficiency.
Addressing delegates during the opening of the African Utility Week at the Cape Town International Conference Centre yesterday, Thygesen said the “private sector is key but it needs the active participation of the government.”
She highlighted on the importance technology has in helping African utility firms optimise their services and improve the reliability of their grid networks through increased integration of energy system with renewable energies.
“Integrating renewable energy with the grid is doable. More innovation is around the corner.”
“The EU needs Africa to improve operations of SMEs in the water and energy sectors,” she said.
She highlighted how the 200 billion rands invested in South Africa’s renewable energy sector in 2015 has positively impacted on the country’s reliability of its grid network.
With regard to energy efficiency programmes deployed in Denmark, she said an investment of one dollar returned benefits amounting to $35.
The European state has also managed to reduce its water losses to below 6% due to the use of innovative water management technologies and infrastructure, and business models, Metering.com has learnt.
Energy efficiency plans
Meanwhile, in the US, the city of Newton in Massachusetts state targets to implement some 1,000 energy efficiency home assessments for residential households between April 2017 and April 2018.
The home energy assessments will be done under a coalition between the city's energy efficiency programme Newton Energy Savers and utility funded energy conservation agency Mass Save.
In deploying the programme, Newton city and the Mass Save is partnering with environmental agency Green Newton, the Newton Clergy Association and the Newton School Parent-Teacher Organization.
The Newton Energy Savers will focus on recruiting participants and implementing home energy assessments whilst the Mass Saver will provide up to $3,000 in rebates for installation of energy efficient appliances in shortlisted residential homes.
Amongst the 1,000 households to be assessed, Newton city is expecting to have at least 400 residential units to have energy efficiency upgrades, reported a local publication.
Mass Save will also provide shortlisted households with discounts when purchasing energy efficient appliances as well as labour for the installation of the purchased appliances. [Con Edison selects ICF for rollout of residential energy efficiency projects].
The programme falls under efforts by the city to meet its target to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Under the Energy Saver, Newton city has over the past years helped residential customers reduce annual energy bills by $1 million.
Energy companies including National Grid and Eversource have benefited from the programme in maintaining the stability of their grid networks and in reducing their operational costs by not investing in new generation infrastructure to meet demand.