Clean Energy Democratisation solution to Constant Load Shedding

Business Development Consultant Nondyebo Milicent Sikazwe. Picture: Supplied

Business Development Consultant Nondyebo Milicent Sikazwe. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 12, 2024


The introduction of Energy Democratisation project by Kili Energy Clean is sought to address the challenges of Load shedding communities were facing across the country.

According to the company’s Business Development Consultant Nondyebo Millicent Sikazwe there about 3.51 million indigent households located in just six (6) municipalities, which are eThekwini, Tshwane, Cape Town, Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo District Municipality & Nelson Mandela Bay – eThekwini which talkies to 18% of the national tally.

“The Cencus 2022 Stats SA 2022 says since 1994, a commendable 94% electricity connectivity has been achieved with households that use LPG having increased from 3.5% in 2011 to 25.7% in 2022. Further to this, households that use electricity as cooking energy increased from 47.4% in 1996 to 64.9% in 2022.

South Africa has been experiencing grid power shortages since 2005, which have become more prevalent in recent years. The situation has worsened for indigent households who cannot afford to invest in alternative energy systems.

In the townships, informal settlements, and rural communities, residents are left with no choice but to use kerosene (paraffin) stoves for cooking and candles for lighting, with devastating effects, especially during the winter season. In informal settlements and rural communities, exposed live wires pose dangers, and incidents of "Izinyoka" are prevalent, endangering lives,” Sikazwe explained:

In 2023, the Minister of Energy reported that load shedding “costs the country’s economy R1 billion per day”.

This prompted the company to come up with a solution to democratize clean energy by rolling out, through subsidization, a Smart LPG cylinder, gas cooker stove (2 plate), hose, and a regulator to drive the use of gas as an alternative cooking energy.

Sizakwe said this mechanism would alleviate strain on the electricity grid and improve people’s lives, benefiting the South African economy.

“According to calculations by our experts, if 30% of indigent households were to switch to using gas as an alternative cooking energy for just two (2) hours during the evening peak, 2,100MWh of electricity would be saved on the grid.

We are designing our rollout processes so that the Smart cylinders will be manufactured locally, creating jobs in engineering, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) brought into these communities through mini-factories as part of a township industrialisation endeavor in partnership with the DTIC under the flagship projects Township Industrialisation & Township Energy Hubs.

The last-mile distribution to households will be undertaken by local SMMEs through delivery vehicles financed by banks like Ithala and government-owned SEFA and certified by LPGSA and local authorities for safe use. Through our built-in Smart technology, our gas cylinders will only be able to be refilled at our authorized bottlers, and automatic alerts will be sent should refilling by an unscrupulous dealer be detected”.

Sizakwe said the next phase would entail rolling out Smart off-grid solar systems and microgrids sufficient enough to power appliances like fridges and TVs, among others.

She also alluded that the Smart solar panels would be manufactured locally in partnership with South Korean technology partners and U.S financiers in order to ensure community-based sustainable jobs are created.

“We intend to absorb women, disabled, and youth into our programme, starting with those who will be trained in government-led solar training initiatives like Nasi Ispani in Gauteng province and the 6 000 youths in eThekwini Municipality who will gain on-the-job training alongside our international experts.

After the project has been rolled out, some of the now skilled youths will be retained to undertake maintenance work, while others will continue to add value to future projects and the industry at large.

Local TVET colleges will be providers of skilled women, disabled, and youth in areas like welding, customer service, and technology,” she added.

The business development consultant said the project was intended to create access to 30 000 jobs over a period of 10 years nationally, ranging from engineering, call center, 4IR, and AI to turn the township economies from being consumption-based to production-driven.

She further said the multiplier effect was immense for a unique and innovative project like this.

“Accenture has agreed to undertake a feasibility study which will assist in unlocking $300m in funding from the JSE Private Placements and US financiers to fund the first 150 000 indigent households. Accenture will also provide critical support in other project development areas based on their unique skills as an international consulting house.

A business delegation from the US and South Korea is scheduled to visit South Africa in mid-May for further discussions. We hope to have meetings with national, provincial, and municipal government officials as we have already engaged with the Presidency, the Electricity Ministry, and eThekwini Metro asking for support for this self-funded initiative that will change the lives of these communities and their future generations”.

Saturday Star

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