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South Africa

  • 52,982,000
  • 1,221,037 km2
Flag of South Africa

Policy - Key Information

In response to the rapidly growing energy demand, the respective need for extended generation and distribution capacities as well as considering GHG emission reduction targets, the South African government began establishing policies for energy efficiency with the “Energy Efficiency Strategy” in 2005 and with the “Electricity Regulation Act” in 2008. Since then, South Africa has already developed a considerable energy policy framework. However, compared to other countries, such as those presented in the world-wide bigEE Policy Guide, South Africa’s policy package for energy efficiency in buildings and appliances still is less comprehensive.

The South African “National Energy Efficiency Strategy” is very broad and provides sector-by-sector guidelines for the implementation of efficient practices within the South African economy. There are eight goals, grouped in terms of social, environmental and economic sustainability, and which include in particular the objective of “affordable energy for all”. Measures include efficiency labels and minimum energy performance standards, energy management activities, energy audits, and the promotion of efficient behaviour (UNEP SBCI 2009). The strategy also sets a 12% target for the reduction of the overall final energy demand by 2015 as well as specific reduction targets of 10% in the residential sector and 15% in the commercial sector (OECD/IEA 2013c).
In 2008, the South African government’s vision, strategic direction and framework for climate policy were announced to ensure stability of the electricity network and to avoid power blackouts. Specific measures to achieve these aims were e.g. energy efficient fittings in buildings, energy efficient street lighting, solar water heating, etc. The National Energy Efficiency Agency was also established with the aim to foster the topic “Energy Efficiency” on the political agenda and to support policy making with the development of strategies, networking programmes, awareness campaigns, measurement and verification activities, etc. The first voluntary standards for buildings were also set in 2008. According to the regulation, commercial and residential buildings are required not to exceed a specified maximum of energy demand and a maximum annual consumption. Other following policies included the Green Star SA rating tool for new office constructions, an initiative for retrofitting governmental buildings, a CO2 tax, and green procurement initiatives.


  • Covary, Theo; Averesch, Ulrich (2013): Overview and assessment of the energy efficiency and energy conservation policies and initiatives of the Republic of South Africa. eceee Summer Study Proceedings 2013
  • OECD/IEA (2013c): Highlighted records constitute key elements of energy efficiency policy framework. www.bigee.net/s/fq8jfbEP 
  • SBCI Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative (2009): Greenhouse Gas Emission Baselines and Reduction Potentials from Buildings in South Africa. A discussion document www.bigee.net/s/6qjwzm

The policy package in South Africa

Title Status Description


  • Covary, Theo (Lead author)
  • Adisorn, Thomas (Lead author)
  • Götz, Thomas (Reviewer)
  • Tholen, Lena (Reviewer)
  • Thomas, Stefan (Reviewer)

References and further reading

  • Agence Française de Developpment (AFD) (2011): Green Credit Line. www.bigee.net/s/hh4rtw
  • City of Cape Town (2014): Municipal Energy Efficiency Demand Side Management. www.bigee.net/s/s6i4pg
  • Department of Energy (DoE) (2008): Assessment Study of the Energy Efficiency Accord. www.bigee.net/s/nbsnur
  • Department of Energy (2014): free basic electricity. www.bigee.net/s/xh33cr
  • Department of Public Works (DPW) (2012): Draft 3 – Green Building Policy. www.bigee.net/s/2czfti
  • Department of Trade and Industry. Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme www.bigee.net/s/mpdz8t
  • Energy Sector Management Assistance Planning (ESMAP) (2012): Implementing Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management – South Africa’s Standard Offer Model. 
  • Eskom (2010): eta Awards. www.bigee.net/s/h2m4zv
  • Eskom (2011): Solar Water Heating Rebate Programme. www.bigee.net/s/fdc1j2
  • Eskom (2011b): Trimming 10% is easier than you think. www.bigee.net/s/2drpqq
  • Eskom (2012): Overview MYPD3 www.bigee.net/s/5vzn12 
  • Eskom (2012b): An overview of Eskom’s view of energy efficiency and programmes available. Presentation by Andrew Etzinger to German Chamber of Commerce 3 April, 2012. 
  • Eskom (2013): Energy Efficiency Projects in Industry www.bigee.net/s/kvinga
  • Eskom (2014a): Home. www.bigee.net/s/4dcvm3 
  • Eskom (2014b): Integrated Demand Management. www.bigee.net/s/n9j4gt 
  • Eskom (2014c): Switch and Save Residential Mass Role-out. www.bigee.net/s/fkn26a 
  • Eskom (2014d): An estimation of price elasticity of demand for the residential electricity sector in South Africa. Dr Johannes Jordaan November, 2014 
  • Eskom (n.d.): Introduction Homeflex. www.bigee.net/s/y6f7w1
  • Eskom (n.d.b): Energy Efficiency Project in Industry www.bigee.net/s/kvinga
  • Fawkes, Howard (2005) Energy Efficiency in South African Industry. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Fund for Research into Industrial Development, Growth and Equity (FRIDGE) (2010): A study into approaches to minimise the impact of electricity price increases to the poor www.bigee.net/s/wkty9y
  • Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (2013): Overview and Assessment of the Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Policies and Initiatives of the Republic of South Africa.
  • Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (2013b): GIZ in South Africa Programmes and Projects. www.bigee.net/s/mqj6yf
  • Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (2014): Green Energy Efficiency Fund. www.bigee.net/s/mmhmnp
  • Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) (2014): 50 Green Star SA certifications. www.bigee.net/s/kvjgcb
  • Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) (2013): Green Energy Efficiency Fund. www.bigee.net/s/8sr12i
  • Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP) (2013): Eskom Energy Conservation Scheme (ECS). www.bigee.net/s/4jiba1 
  • Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (2011): Industrieeffizienz in Südafrika – Green Energy Efficiency Fund in South Africa. www.bigee.net/s/zi8i3u 
  • Launchfactory (2014): 49M – Behaviour Change. www.bigee.net/s/tesj2h
  • My Green Home (2014): My Green Home Guide. www.bigee.net/s/13x8c3
  • National Treasury (2013): Carbon Tax Policy Paper. www.bigee.net/s/nqfwu5 
  • Nedbank (n.d.): SANS 10400-XA Energy Usage in Buildings - An Architect’s Guide to Compliance in Home Design. www.bigee.net/s/6ugj41 
  • NERSA (2013): Mr Thembani Bukula, Regulator Member National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) SANEA presentation 16th April 2013
  • New York Times (2008): Power Failures Outrage South Africa. www.bigee.net/s/ac8btc
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2013): Economic Surveys South Africa 2013
  • Parliament of South Africa (2014): MP pleased with rollout of Solar Water Heating programmes progress www.bigee.net/s/6ihyd8 
  • Renewable Energy Network of the 21st Century; Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REN 21 & REEEP) (2014): Energy Profile South Africa. www.bigee.net/s/mhswjb 
  • South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) (2012): Annual Performance Plan 2012/13. www.bigee.net/s/qg8cfm
  • South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) (2013): Ellis Park Stadium Energy Efficiency Project. www.bigee.net/s/ejmtpq 
  • South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) (2014a): Welcome. http://www.sanedi.org.za/ 
  • South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) (2014b): Financing – Technical Assistance Facility with AFD. www.bigee.net/s/tz9ttr 
  • United Nations Environment Programme – Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative (2009): Greenhouse Gas Emission Baselines and Reduction Potentials From Building in South Africa. www.bigee.net/s/fd6mz8
  • Wang, Xiaodong et al. (2013): Unlocking Commercial Financing for Clean Energy in East Asia www.bigee.net/s/er2j5q
  • VC9008: Compulsory Specification for Energy Efficiency and Labelling of Electrical and Electronic Apparatus (2014): Department of Trade and Industry

Policies in South Africa

The following policies in South Africa can be considered as worldwide good practice examples (GPE):

Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Incentive Program
Type: Feed-in-tariff for certified energy savings
South Africa

Furthermore, bigEE presents here all relevant implemented policies (IP) in South Africa:

Green star South Africa Rating System
Type: Provision of information
Section 12L of Income Tax 58 of 1962
Type: Financial incentives
Solar Water Heating and Heat Pump Rebate Programme
Type: Financial incentives
SANS 10400XA National Building Regulation
Type: Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)
Residential Mass Rollout Programme
Type: Financial Incentives for ULEB and deep retrofits
Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP)
Type: Financial incentives

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