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Keeping the Lights On | Renewable Energy

by Simone Balman

Renewable energy for our cities and towns

Nationwide load-shedding and its negative economic impact across the entire country has fuelled the growing uncertainty regarding electricity supply and access, accelerating the need for reduced reliance on a single energy supplier. Increased investment by the residential and industrial private sector in renewable-energy (RE) generation, primarily in rooftop photovoltaic (PV), is seen as the next big disrupter in South African cities.

Given South Africa’s commitment to a sustainable, balanced energy mix and reduced carbon emissions, Nedbank, in its continuous involvement in government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme, has maintained its status as the leading bank in the support and enablement of RE delivery. It is the only commercial bank to have funded deals across all five allocated technologies to date.

A diversified energy mix

While metros and municipalities are looking to diversify their energy mix and reduce the carbon emissions associated with fossil-fuels-based electricity generation, the sticking point is that the national electricity regulatory system is not set up to accommodate a diversified energy mix, or the decentralised management of it. At the same time, reduced revenue as a result of the increased residential and industrial self-generation of electricity, or grid defection, is posing a threat to the long-term financial sustainability of metros and municipalities, which are currently required by law to purchase their electricity from Eskom. Giving municipalities the flexibility to generate their own electricity or purchase it from independent power producers at competitive prices would help limit future exposure to Eskom tariff increases and impact positively on finances.

Against this backdrop, the WWF Nedbank Green Trust is currently funding an in-depth investigation into the existing electricity distribution system at metro and municipal level in South Africa. ‘This investigation will include the development of workable models for metros and municipalities, and recommendations for alternative sources of revenue and funding from RE,’ says WWF-SA Urban Futures Programme Manager, Louise Scholtz.

The 2019 investigation builds on previous work done by WWF-SA, the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University and their partners, metros and municipalities. According to Scholtz, this investigation should be a valuable contribution to addressing the risks of, and identifying the opportunities created by, climate change by putting in place the case and programme for RE capacity in our metros and municipalities, creating an enabling environment for local government and increased private sector investment in RE, with an accompanying reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Nedbank funds the WWF Nedbank Green Trust on its clients’ behalf through donations made from Nedbank Green Affinity accounts. At no cost to these clients, the bank makes a donation to the trust every time they use their credit cards, current, savings or investment accounts or take out short-term insurance products with Nedbank. The more clients transact, the more Nedbank donates.

Embedded generation

Our Embedded Generation Unit supports clients as they tackle increasing electricity prices, unpredictable electricity supply and environmental stewardship. The unit helps to facilitate the continued growth of the RE industry and associated job creation.

Green Savings Bond

The Nedbank Green Savings Bond was launched in 2012 as the first ‘green’ bond in South Africa available for investment by retail clients. The funds invested are earmarked for the support of RE projects countrywide. 

Energy Efficiency Guide

Nedbank is committed to helping businesses become as resilient, financially fit and sustainable as possible. The free Energy Efficiency Guide is a practical tool for improved business competitiveness through energy efficiency and energy managementDownload the free guide here.

Nedbank Green Affinity

Take back your power and help support South Africa’s shift to RE. Open a Nedbank Green Affinity account and help fund the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, at no cost to you. Visit any Nedbank branch, call us on 0860 555 111 or go to www.nedbank.co.za. Terms and conditions apply.

Photo credit: WWF, Solar power station, Andalucia, Spain.

Nedbank Ltd Reg No 1951/000009/06. Authorised financial services and registered credit provider (NCRCP16).

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