The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) took the initiative to inaugurate their first annual energy conference that is set to be a platform for various other energy entities in our country to gather and discuss the state of energy efficiency and sustainability and also inform and increase awareness on energy solutions and showcase government initiatives in the energy sector.
The event was held on the 21st and 22nd of November at Emperors Palace. This initiative was fueled by the recent SAEEC conference which SANEDI was hosting to explore the subject of Energy Efficiency in Sustainability and Development Goals, looking at how the country is implementing the strategies it has devised in terms of energy sustainability and management.
As an institution that focuses on energy research, development, and innovation in the energy sector, SANEDI has made its aim to spearhead discussions that will direct how amongst many other energy captains in the energy sector, in partnership with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in conjunction with the Department of Science and Innovation.
The first day of the conference commenced with a choir performance from Mphethi Mahlatsi Secondary School which was gracefully followed by an opening address speech from Dr Titus Zwanani Mathe who is the CEO of SANEDI. After Dr Mathe had left
the podium, the deputy minister of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Nobuhle Nkabane, stepped up to the podium to deliver her keynote address speech which highlighted some of the resources that are considered to be part of the energy production as stipulated in the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) 2019, which is to be reviewed in the department’s next cabinet meeting.
She went further in elaboration to point out the obvious imbalance in the supply and demand of energy in our country as well as the development research and innovations that are set in motion to combat the current energy crisis.
Shortly after Nkabane had finished delivering her keynote address, she joined the media roundtable alongside executive members of SANEDI amongst other panelists. In her opening remarks to the round table, she clearly stated the purpose and objectives of the conference, she said, “Some of our cohorts in society do not understand the work that we are doing as much as we are making strides in terms of energy, so we thought of creating a platform where we would engage with captains in the energy
industry and brainstorm in order to come up with some interventions in trying to address some of the gaps that we are going to identify in this conference. In our next conference, we are going to take stock and measure ourselves in terms of improving our inability to close the gaps that have been identified.”
During the round table discussions, Dr Mathe further elaborated on the “Balanced’; Just Energy Transition (JET) which he had mentioned in his opening address, in emphasis to what he had said earlier he pointed out that the term balanced signifies that all possible technologies should be considered in the country’s energy transition program along with the participants in the process.
“By casting the net as wide as possible the program ensures a fair and just transition towards renewable energy sources,” expressed Mathe.
The conference proceeded with multiple panel discussions that were focused on the current and future developments of energy efficiency in the energy sector. Halfway through the conference Professor Blade Ndzimande stepped up to the podium to deliver his Keynote address which affirmed the support of his department in the ventures of SANEDI’s research and collaborations in finding sustainable energy interventions.
On the following day of the conference, a series of Break-away sessions were set in motion to further unpack all there is to energy efficiency and sustainability and also identify the issues that should be addressed. Later in the afternoon, an award ceremony was held to honor all the people who are making strides in the energy sector.
In conclusion, the energy conference opened up a new perspective for the energy sector in its entirety by not solely focussing on the country’s energy crisis but also its progression and growth in the development and implementation of the energy policies that have been put in place.
By Rhulani Fundzama