“While government will play its role, every single individual must also contribute to the energy saving programme,” Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the presidency energy saving campaign at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. He said the government’s response involved focusing on improving the maintenance of Eskom power stations and finalising the long-term “energy security master plan”.
He said in the long term, the government was looking to develop a sustainable energy mix including electricity, liquid fuels, coal, wind, hydro, nuclear, solar and gas. “The lack of energy supply and reserves has definitely been central to the suppressed economic growth,” said Zuma. “Government has identified energy security as the single most important challenge that must be prioritised and addressed effectively to jump-start our economy.”
He said the public works department was tasked with ensuring that all government buildings become energy efficient spaces. “It would not be correct for government to keep telling the private sector what to do to save energy while we ourselves continue with bad energy efficiency practices in government or public buildings,” he said.
Zuma said some of the projects included replacing old technology light fittings with new, energy efficient fittings and motion sensors. He said simple things would make a big difference. “We are talking about simple efforts such as switching off the lights and plugs when we leave the office and also to be equally vigilant at home,” he said.
“We also reiterate the message for households to begin to shift energy sources from over-reliance on electricity for cooking or heating to gas and renewable energy. We urge the private sector to also engage in energy saving drives.” He said that to encourage the private sector, the government was looking to increase the energy efficiency incentives on offer.
The tax rebate scheme on offer to companies would be extended, he said.