The history of the IEE Project

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) launched the Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement in South Africa Project (IEE Project) in South Africa in 2010 in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of South Africa, after a wave of rolling blackouts highlighted the country’s acute electricity shortage.

The project was a collaborative effort between UNIDO, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Energy, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

It was implemented by UNIDO and the NCPC-SA and supported the introduction of Energy Management Systems (EnMS), based on the then new International Energy Management Standard ISO 50001, and Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO).

The IEE Project in South Africa was the first of its kind, developing from concept to implementation over five years – and served as an international pilot project. Similar EnMS/ESO projects are now operational through UNIDO in 16 other developing and emerging economy countries worldwide.

The original phase ran from 2010 to 2015.

The model

The IEE Project set out to boost sustainable transformation of energy usage practices in South African industry through enhancing energy security, promoting job creation and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The business model was set out in four components:

  1. Assisting Government to foster an enabling policy environment by facilitating the development of the 2nd Revision of South African National Energy Efficiency Strategy and operationalization of aspect of the Energy Act.
  2. Promoting energy management standards, building national capacity to accredit and certify compliance with SANS/ISO 50001 and supporting industry in applying these standards effectively.
  3. Building capacity to implement energy management systems and energy systems optimisation through training courses and in-plant implementation support.
  4. Demonstrating the impact of EnMS, ESO and general energy efficiency on businesses’ bottom-lines and sustainability through extensive piloting within South African industry, disseminating case studies, publishing technical articles and wide ranging awareness-raising.

Exceeded targets

The original phase of the IEE Project had a target of 500 MWh of energy saved, which it is now realised was significantly too low, as all targets were exceeded. Highlights included:

  • A total of 2 119 155 241 kWh of energy was saved in 43 plants.
  • In 2010, all trainers for the IEE Project were sourced internationally. By the end of Phase 1 there were 58 national trainers who also train in other IEE Project countries.
  • It was found that around 1 744 jobs were created and preserved through the IEE Project
  • 220 training workshops were held
  • 3 155 engineers, technicians and managers were trained
  • 125 national experts in EnMS and ESO were trained and deployed in plants
  • 40 lead auditors for ISO 500001 were trained
  • 384 companies participated in the IEE Project, of which 153 were large companies and 231 were SMEs.
  • 32 case studies have recorded savings and challenges