MARRAKECH, Morocco, 11 November 2016 - A new EU-funded initiative to deploy clean energy technologies and services in South Africa’s municipal waterworks was launched today at an event taking place on the sidelines of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco.
The initiative was made possible thanks to the partnership between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Department for Environmental Affairs of South Africa, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA).
Urban waterworks run on pumps, motors and other equipment which operate 24 hours a day, making them among the largest consumers of electricity in cities. In addition, the systems are often riddled with inefficiencies, which result in high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The new initiative will help tackle these problems by optimizing pumping and water treatment systems, and deploying renewable energy technologies in electricity generation.
In addition, the initiative will apply rigorous monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for lessons learnt in order to promote, replicate and scale up the solutions within South Africa and beyond.
Panellists at the event highlighted the crucial role of the private sector in ensuring the success implementation and replication of the initiative. Alois Mhlanga of UNIDO said: “The project tries to catalyze change and identify linkages between the municipalities which provide public services and the private sector which makes money.”
Martin Hiller, Director General of REEEP, emphasized the importance of good partnerships. “The selection of partners is key to establishing a solid baseline,” he said.
Eric Beaume representing the European Commission echoed Hiller by saying: “The EU is glad to play a facilitation role in these kinds of projects, which always rely on the strong commitment of the municipalities and the governments, as well as on the close engagement with the civil society and end consumers.”
“I am looking forward to the outcomes of this pilot model, which will help us test policies and understand what works to move forward. This is crucial especially when we consider that more than a third of the municipalities’ energy budgets are spent on water pumps, water treatment and other water resources,” said Tlou Ramaru, Chief Directorate of Climate Change Adaptations at South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs.
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UNIDO Industrial Officer