On 12 June, Cath Traynor (Natural Justice Associate) attended an Energy Training Workshop organised by Project 90×2030 and the Alternative Information Development Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop started with an overview of energy governance in South Africa, including current policies and possible alternatives. Local governance was then discussed, including challenges for local governments to respond to community needs, and the importance of the Batho Pele “People First” principles. Group discussions focused upon the challenges for energy access in low-income communities and possible solutions. Practical actions were considered and a variety of low-cost and do-it-yourself energy options recently tested by local communities demonstrated. The meeting concluded by brainstorming how best to address community needs and how to enhance and extend partnerships for SMART energy actions.
Relevant resources for those in South Africa interested in learning more about these issues include Making Local Government Work: An Activist’s Guide and Smart Electricity Planning, a civil society response to the South African Government’s Integrated Resource Plan.