Business owners met yesterday with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and experts in the energy sector at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre to discuss the state of energy in South Africa during an event dubbed “Thinking Outside the Box”.
The discussion formed part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Business Forum’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership program hosted by the university each year for the past five years.
In their daily production, some businesses consume a lot of energy and with ongoing load shedding countrywide, the need had arisen to come up with ways of saving energy.
The discussion provided business owners the platform to come up with energy efficient innovations.
Business owners pledged to work with government and municipalities to ease some of the burden on the national power grid, in the short and long term.
Government policies, such as the implementation of carbon tax from next year, were some of the policies that affect businesses directly.
Department of Energy chief director of energy planning, Tshilidzi Ramuedzisi, one of the panelists, said South Africa burned a lot of coal to produce electricity, which was harmful to the atmosphere.
As a deterrent, she said from the next financial year, industries that produced carbon from their production cycles would be charged tax according to the amount of carbon produced.
Sisa Njikelana from the South African Independent Power Producers Association believed carbon tax should be carefully explored before implementation.
“I personally do not think the government has conducted enough consultation on the carbon tax issue. In my view, it’s far from perfect,” he said.
He believed the promotion of solar-panel systems, intensifying energy efficiency and combining efforts by government, the business community and civil society were viable solutions.