A COMPETITIVE and sustainable city: this is the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's vision for our city.
You may have heard the phrase "green economy" being bandied about. A green economy focuses on the efficient use of primarily renewable resources, reducing carbon emissions, for socio-economic and environmental good.
The Bay is being positioned as a "green hub", wherein activities clustered around green energy generation, product innovation and skills development unfold.
The chamber has established a renewable energy task team, which seeks to support businesses in promoting renewable energy technologies. Also, the team seeks to develop innovative green solutions.
The team's goals are to:
- Develop and maintain a database of local businesses in a position to provide green goods and services;
- Encourage businesses to use available green technologies;
- Lobby for the promotion of the green industry; and
- Share information and best practice on green solutions.
The commencement of the transportation of wind turbine components testifies that we have moved from notion to realisation of renewable energy generation in our region.
The business chamber, together with other organisations, has lobbied for increased local content requirements to benefit businesses. Also, our task team's database is becoming sought-after by developers from which credible goods and services are sourced.
We have an opportunity to rebrand ourselves from the "Windy City" to the "Wind Energy Generating City".
Our city has been using renewable energy to generate electricity for several years.
We are quick to criticise, but fail to give credit where it is due – to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Our municipality is, arguably, the leader in terms of renewable energy generation and policy.
The municipality has the Small-scale Embedded Generation programme. This programme allows for home and business residence owners to install renewable technology on their premises. Also, energy generated is either used on the premises or fed into the grid.
Energy that is fed into the grid is credited against your monthly electricity bill. This is not good news; it is great news.
Our municipality is the first in the country to make this offer available to its residents and business owners.
This "giant leap" opens up many business opportunities, most notably for small and medium enterprises in the Bay.
Fulfilling these opportunities, however, will not be possible without appropriate education and training. In addition to our progressive municipality, institutions in the Bay are leading the way in terms of education and training programmes geared to grow knowledge in the green industry.
But a focus solely on renewable energy as a means to establish our city as a green hub will not suffice.
We, as a renewable energy task team, choose to collaborate with other role players passionate about positioning the Bay as a green hub, other business chamber task teams, the South Africa Association for Energy Efficiency and the Regional Innovation Forum.
Is it not time that your business explores green options? With spiralling electricity tariffs, can you afford not to, in your quest to be competitive and sustainable?
Join our task team or participate in one of our events, where you have the opportunity to network with some of the finest green businesses that the Bay has to offer.
Wendy Fisher is head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's renewable energy task team