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Working For Energy

HomeprocurementWorking For Energy
HomeprocurementWorking For Energy

Objective and Mandate

The objective of the Working for Energy Programme (the Programme) is to provide sustainable clean energy solutions to rural and low income urban communities with special emphasis job creation, skills development and community enterprise development. The Programme targets the youth, women and people with disabilities in rural areas and low income urban communities.





The Programme is strategically aligned to the “New Growth Path” which was launched in November 2010 by the Minister of Economic Development. The latter articulates the need to leverage public procurement, in combination with other policy instruments of Government, to support local manufacturing, especially in value added, tradable and labour intensive industries. Therefore, in line with Government’s commitment to making employment creation the main criterion for economic policy, and in support of the country’s Industrial Policy and Action Plan (IPAP), Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP), and National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF), the Programme is central to a number of identified jobs drivers in the Green Economy which will catalytically increase sustainable Enterprise Development, SMME creation and job creation plus job retention in associated sectors such as agriculture, rural development, social development, health, education, manufacturing, tourism, and other high-level services.

The Programme seeks to use available technologies and develop local skills to harness available renewable energy resources to produce useable energy for the benefit of low income communities.

Provision of Renewable Energy

The Programme investigates various ways to derive renewable energy from various sources. The following is not an exhaustive list of interventions considered under the Programme.

  • biomass to energy from invasive alien plants and bush encroachment;
  • charcoal derived in an environmentally friendly manner from invasive alien plants and grasses;
  • biogas to energy from agricultural waste;
  • biofuels development and implementation for rural applications;
  • mini-grid hybrid and smart grid systems fed from renewable based electricity supplies for rural and low income areas’ applications;
  • mini-hydro systems and run of river schemes for off-grid applications;
  • solar power (concentrated Photo Voltaic systems) for off grid for rural and low income areas’ applications;
  • waste to energy from municipal solid waste or sewage treatment for off-grid and research and development;
  • mini and micro wind energy generation for off grid rural and low income areas’ applications;
  • alternative fuel sources for space heating, cooking and water heating in low cost housing.

Latest Projects


Replacement of the electric geyserschnology intervention. with solar water geysers supported by a water purification system at the Tygerkloof Combined School in Vryburg, North West Province,

Working For Energy

Balloon digester at the Tygerkloof Combined School-Waste to energy as part of the WfE waste to Energy initiative of the EPWP


Sausage or balloon digester being built in the Melani Village, Eastern Cape.

Applied Research into clean energy technologies.

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The Programme continuously explores new ways to deploy small to medium scale technologies and renewable energy resources for the production of clean energy that supports livelihoods. The example below shows how available resources can be used to produce sustainability.

By using various interventios in a particular configuration, life in any setting (rural or urban) can be sustained. The Programme considers technologies singularly or in combination to produce a desired soultion or an input to a solution towards solving a sustainability challenge.

The applied research component looks at best practices in clean energy policies, strategies and practices across the world with a view for innovation, adaptation and enrichment for South African application.

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Biogas is also used in the Education and Training institutions such as Fort Cox College of Agriculture for various applications, such as cooking, space heating, food processing and warming the piglets in incubation units.

Energy Saving using renewable materials

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Typical dwelling structure in informal settlements in South Africa.

The summer day temperature and winter morning and afternoon temperatures are unbearable to the users of the rural, informal and low income urban settlements facilities built out of metallic corrugated sheets and other poor insulation materials or barely roofed with metallic corrugated sheeting. The Programme is looking at various ways and means of regulating the ambient temperature to make dwellings as comfortable as possible.

Some of the options considered to provide thermal comfort through energy saving initiatives across the housing envelope (flooring, wall and ceilings) is to provide insulation using renewable materials such as processed biomass harvested from the Working for Water Programme. These materials are derived from the waste to energy initiative from the Value Added Industries through the National Resource Management Programme of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Under the Clean Energy Ministerial, SANEDI is spearheading the use of “cool paints” for application in various surfaces (walls, roofs) to reduce the ambient temperatures by reflecting most of the heat in the atmosphere. The Programme has commenced with the implementation of pilot projects in a number of public schools in Sharpeville.

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The project is also intended to reduce the electricity consumption of the beneficiary facility, thus reducing its CO2 footprint associated with heating, cooling and ventilation and air conditioning.

South Africa has abundant sunshine and water is best heated through solar energy, using solar water heating technologies. The figure below shows solar water heating installed as part of an energy solution to Thusanang Early Childhood Development in Hammanskraal. This project is a partnership between SANEDI and the National Development Agency of the Department of Social Development.

Working For Energy

Thusanang Early Childhood Development Centre receiving biogas, solar water heating and efficient lighting, in Suurman, Hammanskraal, Gauteng.

In addition, the projects in public facilities also include retrofit of efficient lighting systems and anaerobic digesters.

Awareness, Skills Development and Capacity Building and Community Outreach

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In order to sustain the Programme through implementation, expansion, maintenance and operation it is important to create awareness of the role of clean energy solutions in the public through strategic interventions. In this regard, awareness and capacity building programmes targeting schools, cooperatives and community structures are being implemented.

In order to begin and sustain the implementation of clean energy interventions in communities, it is important to build capacity and develop skills in targeted communities. Selected practitioners are provided with both accredited and non-accredited skills development interventions relevant to the technologies being provided.

The sustained implementation suggests local skills to build, maintain and operate provided clean energy interventions. The Programme promotes the development of community based cooperatives with the help of relevant departments and state owned companies.

SANEDI is working with the Department of Energy to better integrate the work dome for the betterment of beneficiary communities in which they operate under Community Upliftment and Integrated Energy Centres (IeC) and INEP-Non Grid

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SANEDI has partnered with Green Coal Energy to pilot a new patented technology called Torrefaction. Three different product lines are produced, using the technology to convert biomass from invasive alien vegetation, to produce woodchips, wood pellets, and bio-coal (green coal). The green coal is converted in literally 3 minutes, and has a calorific value of 25 MJ/Kg and higher.

An existing plant is operating in Namibia, and plans are under way to expand its current capacity, due to the growing demand from both local and overseas customers. Plans are also in process to design, construct and commission a new Torrefaction Plant in the Western Cape, which will source its raw material from the DEA Working For Water Programme, which is targets the eradication of vast tracts of invasive alien vegetation.

The Green Coal project is sustainable, because it reduces air emissions when burnt in coal-fired power stations. It also creates high numbers of jobs, in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). And it lends itself to future downstream manufacture of technology parts and supplies, thereby stimulating the local economy.