Cape Town - One of the biggest problems around energy efficiency is a lack of government coordination, parliament's portfolio committee on energy heard on Thursday.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researcher Llewellyn van Wyk told the committee there were some figures on how much energy should be saved per building, but he was not at all confident these were correct.
"Benchmarking is, in my view, one of the critical components needed to understand where we are and work out where we want to be.
"But when you say I want to be there and you don't know where you are, it's a bit like Alice in Wonderland. It doesn't matter which way you go, your answer is rubbish anyway," said Van Wyk.
It was necessary to establish a baseline for the country to plot a way forward and measure it each year.
Van Wyk had reservations about the impact the renewed focus on infrastructure would have on the energy efficiency targets.
"We are going to get benefits from building regulations, but my concern is when the construction industry and property market turns, we could wipe out all those gains, simply by the expansion that occurs," he said.
Energy Intensive User Group chair Mike Rossouw said the lack of data should be acknowledged.
This cut to the core of the reason why there was no energy efficiency strategy.
"I appeal for proper integration between ministries. It's the biggest reason for the failure of policy implementation."
Rossouw highlighted policy incoherence, and said the current method of implementing ad hoc responses to what was needed on a particular day, rather than having a proper strategy, was not the way to go.
"We need to review the order and efficacy of policy priorities. Certain policies are put in place before the actual plans are in place," he said.
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