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Lights dimming on Eskom IDM programs

Lights dimming on Eskom IDM programs

And like that… they were (almost) gone! If you happen to be one of the companies currently investigating upgrading the energy-efficiency of your plant or business, you might have been privy to a

letter from our electricity parastatal announcing the revised rebates for their Integrated Demand Management (IDM) incentive programs.

Whilst NERSA has curbed the allowed increases in electricity tariffs – which is good news for our productivity and pocket – a side effect is that there is now less money to fund these important programs to save energy. In fact, a recent report showed that the IDM programs have to try and deliver 89% of the original savings targets with only 40% of the budget they applied for. That’s like trying to win an F1 race with a Datsun Pulsar.

The IDM programs have been quite successful: since inception in 2004, the cumulative savings have amounted to that of an average power station pushing out 3.6Gw. So just by changing light bulbs, using solar panels and heat pumps, we’ve not needed to build another power station. And those savings are only recorded from registered projects.

Vincent Lane, of Grey Green Sustainable Energy Engineering, puts it another way. “The IDM programs pay R5.25m.MW to save energy. Using approximate figures for the sake of comparison, if we were to replace that installed capacity with wind turbines, it would cost R15mil/MW and with Solar, even more at R20m/MW.” Clearly, taking power off the grid seems like a far more practical and indeed cheaper way to reduce the burden on big old Eskom - at least from an immediate energy requirement point of view. Lane adds: “The energy-saving interventions that IDM programs offer are also likely to be far more effective when compared to these renewables – mainly because more energy can be saved in a year in comparison to what wind and solar could possibly generate in the same time. This is when one compares the capacity factors of solar and wind farms to the load factors of energy efficiency projects.”

As of 12 October, Eskom’s funding drops from R5.25m/MW to R3.5mil/MW. Simply put, the rebates for the energy savings are going to get smaller. Before you kick yourself too hard for being too slow to join Eskom’s IDM charitable handouts, all is not lost. The rebate will still be there albeit smaller. The quicker you get on board and plan an energy-efficient lighting upgrade, the better. Energy-efficient experts like Grey Green and Lighting Revolution are the types of companies that are geared to maximize the rebate for your solution, which in the end puts money straight to the bottom line.

Eskom IDM incentive programs are conceived to keep the lights on. Our companies should too.

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