As part of East London Industrial Development Zone’s (ELIDZ) programmatic approach to finding innovative ways of reducing our carbon footprint whilst maintaining a high rate of production, there is also a conscious effort to minimise our environmental impact. To that end, the ELIDZ has conducted a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory and released report findings that describes and quantifies sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the zone. Greenhouse gas inventories are geared towards taking stock of the amounts of GHG released into or removed from the atmosphere.
Lowering GHGs emissions remains part of South African government commitment to international efforts, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement. These global efforts are aimed at mitigating against adverse effects of climate change.
Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) \ the inventory served as an important instrument in examining the overall GHG emissions and major contributors in the zone.
According to ELIDZ Sector Manager: Renewable Energy, Dr. Chris Ettmayr, the exercise was necessitated by the zone’s obligation to sustainable environmental practices combined with a need to ensure that the IDZ remains suitable for light industries. This study also took place against the backdrop of South Africa’s pending Carbon Tax legislation and an interest of ELIDZ tenants to know what their carbon footprint looked like.
The report revealed that top contributors of GHG emissions within the zone are as follows:
• Electricity (coal generated) (75%);
• Diesel for transporting goods/services (17%);
• Solid waste to landfill (4%);
• Paraffin (3%) and
• Other fuels (1%)”, he said.
Dr. Ettmayr added that in terms of GHG categorization, roughly 90% of emissions occur off-site.
Meanwhile solid waste to landfill accounts for an estimated 4% of GHG emissions. As a result the report recommends that an investigation for the potential use of some of this waste in bio-digestion and other processes be carried out. “Additional waste streams that could be investigated in this regard include fats removed from the dairy, fish mortalities from the fish farms, fish farm effluent and sewage sludge”, added Dr. Ettmayr.
As a response, the ELIDZ is developing a renewable energy roadmap, in conjunction with the USAID, which will set standards and targets for energy efficiencies in the estate as well as investigate the blending in of renewable energy with the current fossil fuel derived energy from Eskom. “Projects will be identified to continually lower the GHG emissions of the zone to ensure that we minimize our impact on the environment whilst at the same time becoming more efficient with our utilities and assisting the Country with meeting its international emission reduction targets. This should translate into a cheaper operating environment over time with improved energy security and diversity”, he concluded.