Energy is key to our life, to welfare, productive activity, mobility, and to improving living standards, and as such is an important pillar of development. South Africa's current energy supply comes primarily from fossil fuels in the form of cheap local coal and imported crude oil. The abundance of local coal has meant that the cost of electricity has historically been amongst the cheapest in the world, and because of this we have developed a highly energy- and carbon-intensive economy. Therefore a transition to an energy sector which is more sustainable is critical.
SEA has been working with South African cities around sustainable energy issues since 2000 and was instrumental in bringing the concept of energy thinking (as opposed to just electricity) into city planning and strategic direction. In our early years SEA made visible the energy picture of our cities. More recently we have focused specifically on the implementation of sustainable energy and climate change programmes and strategies, particularly through capacity building and support of city staff, and addressing barriers to effective implementation.