National hub in energy efficiency launched at the University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria has been selected by the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) to house the Energy Efficiency and Demand-side Management (EEDSM) Hub. The event took place in the Senate Hall (on the Hatfield campus of the University).

SANERI, a subsidiary of CEF (Pty) Ltd, is a joint initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), and the Department of Minerals & Energy (DME). The two departments developed a National Energy Research and Development Strategy as the initial agenda of SANERI to revive the knowledge base through research towards a sustainable energy sector in South Africa. SANERI is an agency that funds and supports research as well as conducts its own research where gaps exist. It identified energy efficiency and demand-side management as key research and development (R&D) themes for South Africa.

The overall aim of the initiative is to develop and enhance national capacity in energy efficiency (including fuel switching to renewable technologies) and demand-side management in support of accelerated and shared economic growth within the bounds of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

SANERI invited universities from across South Africa to bid for the establishment of a hub for a postgraduate programme in Energy Efficiency and Demand-side Management to meet SANERI’s human capital development objectives in one of its thematic research areas, as identified in the Energy Research and Development Strategy.

Seven institutions submitted proposals to host the programme’s Hub. The University of Pretoria’s Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering located in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology submitted a bid for the award.

After a careful review process, the University of Pretoria was chosen by the SANERI to host the Hub. The specific objectives of the programme are threefold, namely: to build human resources capacity, to deepen knowledge, and to stimulate innovation and entreprise in the field of energy efficiency and demand-side management.

The award is for five years. It involves about R15 million over five years (at R3 million per annum). Additional funding, in the form of bursaries to students, will also be available. As a National Hub, the University of Pretoria is expected to do, amongst others, the following:
  • establish, develop and manage a National Hub and its spokes for the postgraduate programme in Energy Efficiency and Demand-side Management. This programme will steer postgraduate teaching and research in energy efficiency and demand-side management in the country
  • establish and coordinate a postgraduate master’s and doctoral programme with associated research projects to achieve a step change in the knowledge base for energy efficiency and demand-side management in the country
  • commission, undertake, sub-contract and manage teaching and research and market transformation projects in cooperation with their chosen partners
  • develop, manage and present postgraduate research and teaching programmes which will be guided by relevant policy documents as well as priorities that might from time to time be set by SANERI and its advisory bodies
  • develop and manage a fully-integrated cross-cutting postgraduate training programme that will equip social and natural scientists, engineers, economists and other professionals to contribute towards the efficient use of energy
  • identify, prioritize and conduct appropriate research studies relating to energy efficiency and demand-side management appropriate for South African social and market conditions.
Renewal will be negotiated during the fourth year of the programme and it depends on the continued relevance of the programme in relation to government objectives, performance of the institution against agreed milestones and the availability of funding. The University of Pretoria is looking at possibilities of inviting other tertiary institutions as partners with which it will collaborate on this project.
At the end of the lauch event, the two institutions signed a contract. Mr Kadri (Kevin) Nassiep, CEO of SANERI, signed on behalf of his orgnisation while Professor Robin Crewe (vice-principal) signed on behalf of the University of Pretoria.
                       /sitefiles/Image/Dr Minnesh Bipath.jpg        /sitefiles/Image/Prof X Xia.jpg
Dr Minnesh Bipath 
(Senior Manger at SARETI)                                                                                     
Prof X Xia of the University's Department of Electrical,  Electronic and Computer Engineering                   
For more information on the EEDSM Hub, please contact:
Professor Xiaohua Xia
Director of the Centre of New Energy Systems
Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 (12) 420 2165
For more information on SANERI, please contact:
Dr Minnesh Bipath
Tel: 011-280-0443
For media information (from the University of Pretoria’s side), please contact:
Gilbert Mokwatedi
Tel: +2712-420-3023
Mobile: +2783 713 4478 or +2778 337 1170

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