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Industrial efficiency as an economic development strategy for South Africa

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M. Howells
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This paper indicates that industrial energy efficiency measures offer the potential to increase profitability and jobs while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and influence other sustainable development goals. Using the South Africa example, it shows how certain energy efficiency measures meet national development goals and incidentally reduce GHG emissions.The authors adopt a multicriteria analysis framework, and focus their attention on industrial energy efficiency measures by describing their attributes, such as their cost and potential for saving energy. In particular, the economy-wide effects of job creation and any changes in fuel consumption associated with these measures are computed. By examining a limited set of potential interventions to a "business as usual" energy future, their effect on the energy economy and the role that they may play in different development scenarios can be evaluated. This analysis allows the specific investments required and their impacts to be identified.A key finding is that certain energy investments both drive development and coincidentally reduce emissions. Were these investments to be implemented for GHG reduction reasons they would, in effect, drive development. The authors argue that there is a role for technology transfer and a play-off exists between increased local content and potentially increasing costs.The paper argues that this conclusion has a potentially profound effect in terms of the international climate change debate, as anecdotal arguments for clean development are now able to be quantified. The implication is that developing countries (in the short-to-medium term) can focus their attention on meeting urgent development imperatives as well as tending to a climate friendly future.