Energy no longer a major cost driver in business sustainability for the future

Energy crisis! What energy crisis? According to Valerie Green who addressed delegates at the SAVA AGM last week, energy is no longer the main cost driver of business, as many smart businesses have learnt to manage the cost of power. However, she did say the cost of energy was expected to rise.

Green is head of the National Business Initiative’s energy programme and manages strategic partnerships between business and government.

Green noted that many corporations had been able to reduce the supply cost of energy in the value chain and it was no longer listed as a priority in conversations around business challenges going forward.

“It’s about spending more wisely and knowing the difference between energy saving versus energy efficiency. The former involves behavioural change, awareness of wasteful usage and switching off lights. Energy efficiency requires investment in new technology and maintenance of appliances.

Green said that the conservation of energy had entered the realm of reputation management and it would be a challenge for business to justify why lights were on.

“We have entered the next stage of load shedding,” Green said. Companies must think in a forward looking fashion. There are energy efficiency opportunities to be identified and government wants  carbon tax to be implemented, which will force companies to look at energy output and reduce exposure to carbon waste.

Governments national stabilisation plan includes:

  • Managing demand through energy efficiency projects within households and municipalities and commercial buildings
  • Implementing energy efficient programmes for the short and medium to long term while other solutions come aboard.

Companies that have already undergone energy audits under the auspices of the National Business Initiative have enjoyed substantial cost saving benefits. These include Standard Bank, First Rand MTN and Vodacom. In addition 78 Woolworth’s stores and 30 wineries with VinPro have been audited.

Potential savings are significant and just by NBI managing accounts more than 15% of annual savings can be achieved. Some aspects are quite simple. It can be as obvious as reviewing the number of lamps in a room and taking a hard look at how many are absolutely necessary and how many are redundant or not positioned to give maximum light exposure, for example globs behind pipes in a parking lot.

Green pointed out that merely by checking that your business is on the right tariff scale, businesses could be saving money. The audit will help companies identify gaps. “We will customise a programme with a team of qualified and vetted consultants to plug the gaps. This may involve installing generators, and solar PV panels, all in all making the right choices around energy concerns.”

The success of the programme requires the commitment of a project champion within the company and a senior executive to authorise it as part of an energy strategy, Green said.

For more information contact petroD@nbi.org.za

Author: PR Officer

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