Unisa and the NBI launch energy efficiency collaboration agreement

12 June 2015

The University of South Africa (Unisa) recently entered into a collaboration agreement on energy efficiency with the NBI, to be delivered through the PSEE. The agreement is believed to be the first partnership of its kind in higher education. Speakers at the launch of the collaboration agreement included the Deputy Chairperson of the Unisa Council, Dr Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane, the Head of the PSEE, Dr Peter Mukoma, the Chairperson of the Exxaro Chair in Business and Climate Change, Professor Godwell Nhamo as well as the Principal and Vice Chancellor of Unisa, Professor Mandla Makhanya.

In a subsequent interview with Andile Khumalo on Power FM’s Power Business Programme, Dr Thelma Roux, Deputy Director at Unisa’s Compliance, Ethics and Risk Management Department, said that the objective of Unisa’s participation in the PSEE programme was not only for the university to benefit from energy efficiency savings but also to pass on the learning to UNISA’s approximate 300 000 students. “As a higher education institution we have a role to play in creating awareness of the importance of energy to the economy and fostering leaders that can look holistically at the current challenges,” she stated.

Dr Roux highlighted the fact that this agreement was ground-breaking in that although it has a research component, the primary objective was to ensure that the outcomes of the PSEE’s interventions were implemented.

Also participating in the interview was PSEE Programme Manager Hemal Bhana, who explained that Unisa was participating in the PSEE’s 60%-subsidised large company offering. This involves a deeper, holistically-designed Strategic Energy Management engagement over a period of up to 60 days, tailored to the unique requirements of the university. This intervention is aimed at improving operational energy efficiency while supporting the development of a comprehensive energy and carbon management strategy – including the integration of renewable energy resources – that the university can implement to help them to ultimately become self-sufficient.

In conclusion, Hemal reiterated that the PSEE’s services can help all businesses, not only large companies. The services include free training workshops to assist small businesses in understanding their energy bills, what tariff they are on and how to become more energy efficient. More than 30 workshops have been presented countrywide thus far, in a number of cases jointly with large company lead generators, business and industry associations, and municipalities. In the case of medium companies free on-site surveys are conducted by consultants paid by the PSEE. The companies then receive a report which includes a high-level business case for each of the energy saving opportunities identified and also covers next steps in terms of implementation.

PSEE consulants involved in the UNISA contract.