- the condition of the resource base, and how it is changing
- the consequences of change
-options for the management and utilisation of resources for optimal benefit, as well as for avoiding harmful consequences and
- ensuring that good and relevant science is applied.
From these domains SEF addresses the complex interactions between implemented energy-related systems, society at large, and the ecosystem services that sustain them - often, overarching problem that decision-makers of technology management oriented practices and policies do not consider, in a holistic manner.
Areas of expertise: SEF has played a key role in developing the South African energy R&D strategy and formulating the Sustainable Energy Base flagship programme of NEPAD. Supporting research initiatives include:
technology fore-sighting for alternative energy technologies,
- future supply and demand side scenario modelling for the energy sector of Southern Africa,
- resource-economic, social and environmental life cycle assessment of energy systems in the initial R&D phases of the technology management life cycle,
- development of sustainable technology management models to support the implementation of renewable energy systems for off-grid applications,
- development of models to assess the sustainability of energy systems in a local context,
- development of policy, management and decision-making frameworks for the integrated environmental management of renewable energy systems by authorities, together with stakeholders, with performance indicators, and
- strategies to energise rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa with a view of addressing poverty, one of Africa's most pressing problems.