EELN is a partnership which consists of more than 40 businesses, government departments/agencies and business associations who make up the signatory network. The EELN fora lets government and business speak openly about energy efficiency as well as energy strategy and policy implementation. The activities of the EELN are geared to upskill its members on shared energy efficiency experiences and keeps members/signatories abreast of energy efficiency technology best practices. Needless to say that the sharing of experience and challenges in the EELN has had a significant impact on South African businesses to date.
Eleven years since the journey started in 2005 with the signing of the Energy Efficiency (Green) Accord, the EELN has remained an important partner to help government implement the National Energy Efficiency Strategy (NEES). This partnership is evidenced through a long-standing relationship with the Department of Energy (DoE) and increasingly good interaction with other government departments. Collectively the EELN companies consume more than a quarter of South Africa’s thermal and electrical energy; therefore in 2011 these signatory companies signed a pledge committing themselves to continuous improvements in energy efficiency under the auspice of the EELN.
An eleven-year journey
Since the EELN began its journey eleven years ago, new energy efficiency challenges and opportunities have emerged i.e. there has been a rapid evolution in technology, legal requirements and attitudes towards resource use and emissions in South Africa. To this end the EELN helps its members meet these challenges through peer learning in order to stay abreast of legislative changes, technology and market developments in energy efficiency.
Members of the EELN learn through engaging with government and other important stakeholders responsible for energy policy formulation and EELN case studies have been used by private sector and government planners to design future projects and policy objectives. We believe these case studies are a symbol of the private sector’s commitment and leadership in energy efficiency improvements.
The next ten years will see the EELN increase its scope to include a link between energy and water, waste management, renewable energy and all aspects of the green economy principles that are starting to emerge from government and business initiatives.
How the EELN works
The National Business Initiative (NBI) acts as secretariat for the EELN, which works with companies, government departments/agencies and business associations. NBI plays the role of convenor for open dialogue on various strategic and policy matters related to energy efficiency as well as organises capacity building and technical site visit opportunities for EELN members. This provides members with a framework to collaborate on projects as well as develop a common roadmap which informs clear strategies and a proactive approach to energy efficiency for both business and government.
Due to the NBI’s track record in hosting the EELN the organisation managed to attract donor funding (8.6 million pounds sterling) from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in 2014. This funding was used to establish the Private Sector Energy Efficiency Programme (PSEE), as an implementation arm, which offered subsidised assistance for SMEs and large businesses to help organisations identify potential energy savings (via energy audits) and also assisted large companies to design and implement their own energy efficiency initiatives, policies objectives and strategic alignment activities. More than 700 medium sized businesses and more that 35 large businesses respectively, have been assisted by the PSEE to date.
As government introduces new regulations and incentives, the EELN continues to keep members up to date and fosters conversations between the private and public sectors on their applications. In recent months the EELN has offered members workshops on topics such as; energy management systems, energy metering and controls, measurement and verification, pumping efficiency, emerging technologies, energy efficiency management, building management, energy storage solutions, HVAC efficiency, renewable solutions, and mandatory energy reporting requirements.