EU funds development of an Off-Grid Management Authority in SA

Robert Aitken was the project manager for an EU funded mission (TAF/SE4All) to establish an off-grid management authority operating under the Department of Energy in South Africa. The off-grid management authority was designed to maximise off-grid opportunities, reform the existing SHS programme, increase technology diversification and private sector investment as well as accelerating universal access to electricity in South Africa.

Evaluation of the Capital Access programme in East Africa

Restio Energy recently completed a terminal evaluation of the Capital Access Renewable Energy programme (CARE2) being implemented by GVEP (now ‘Energy 4 Impact’) in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The CARE2 programme is designed to improve access to capital for micro and SME businesses within the energy access space. Improved capital access frameworks will go a long way to promoting commercial sustainability and growth within the SME sector.

Collaboration with UCL on improving access to thermal energy services

Restio Energy is working in partnership with University College London (UCL) to develop toolkits and field guides for delivering thermal energy services in rural areas. The project is titled ‘Sustainable Thermal Energy Programme’ (STEPs) and is geared towards assisting initiatives through a public private partnership model in promoting access to modern thermal energy services in rural areas.

Western Cape government recognises township renewable energy initiative

6 May 2013

Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Helen Zille presented signed flags to representatives of 20 “green growth” initiatives in the Province at the annual 110% Green event in Khayelitsha. The flags represent the Province’s recognition of these initiatives’ commitment to growing the ‘green economy’ in the Western Cape.

One of these initiatives, called EnerGcare, specifically focuses on the “Green Economy Working for the Poor” – a strategic focus area of 110% Green. EnerGcare provides access to renewable and efficient energy products for township residents, through a network of independent sales agents who market and sell directly to customers.

The range of products being distributed are specifically designed with the needs, circumstances and resources of township households in mind, and includes affordable solar lights and cellphone chargers, low-smoke efficient wood- and charcoal stoves, and heat-retention energy saving cookers.

Township households are the hardest hit by rising energy costs and shack fires in winter, while the imminent threat of load-shedding is further forcing people to look for cheaper and safer alternatives. The lack of sufficient retail infrastructure, coupled with limited awareness of the available energy options, prevents township residents from accessing the appropriate technologies.

“We know that renewable energy and energy efficient technologies work; the challenge is to get these products to the people that need them the most” says Robert Aitken, managing director of Restio Energy. The company finds and distributes household energy products, and is one of the EnerGcare partner organisations. Along with PlaNet Finance, specializing in micro-finance, and The Business Place, a business training academy based in Philippi, Restio Energy aims to build a network of micro-franchises that will transform the way energy is used in townships.

“We echo Premier Zille’s statement that the green economy is an important way to generate growth and create jobs, while ensuring sustainability” said Aitken. EnerGcare currently operates in Khayelitsha, Alexandra and Soweto – and is set to expand to additional areas by the end of 2013.


For more details, please contact:

Thabo Tsobane

078 645  6405


Ken Fullerton

079 067 8586