On board: UCT Energy Research Institute (ERI) staffers involved with the SEMA launch were (from left) Mia Aberg, Denis van Es and Alison Hughes.
SIGNIFICANT opportunities exist in South Africa to save millions of rands through energy management, increasing profits, extending energy reserves and benefiting the environment.
But while energy management reduces the amount of electricity or coal consumed, it also addresses productivity. However, barriers to improved energy efficiency are a lack of knowledge, awareness and training.
Recognising the need for an energy management vehicle through which the latest technology and best practice for energy management could be introduced to South African industry, the Energy Research Institute (ERI) in the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering has established The South African Energy Management Association (SEMA). The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) supports the move.
Acting secretary for SEMA, UCT's Denis van Es (research officer, ERI), said, â€œMost often it is only a lack of awareness that prevents energy saving interventions. The technologies are all well established and, once industry sees the benefits, these are relatively straightforward. SEMA's job is to ensure industry is made aware of the potential and is provided with the techniques for making significant financial gains,â€ he noted.
SEMA is presently being run by ERI staff, but there are plans to elect a management board with members drawn from the Departments of Minerals and Energy, Trade and Industry, other UCT staff as well as individual members of the association.
To get the ball rolling, SEMA has started training courses for captains of industry as well as a practical management course for engineers and production managers. Workshops will also be held in addition to an annual energy efficiency competition.