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welcome to Centre for Energy Systems Analysis and Research (CESAR)

CESAR was established in May 2009 with the stated aim of being the authority in the field of Energy Data for the purpose of Modelling and Planning. CESAR is one of the Centre’s that previously resided with SANERI, but is incorporated under the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). The CESAR programme managed by SANEDI, after the restructuring, remains a Department of Science and Technology (DST) funded programme.

The CESAR programme’s was initiated to provide a mechanism for energy modelling and planning to support the alignment of national and local government energy objectives. The aim is to develop an energy data repository and technical capacity to support national and local energy planning and policy. In addition, CESAR aims to provide an energy platform where national and local decision makers are assisted in energy planning and to meet the objectives of the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and National Climate Change Response Strategy.

Our Vision

The long term vision of CESAR is to build energy modelling capacity of both people and tools so that a fully functional modelling group can be housed within SANEDI. .


  • To develop technical know-how, knowledge, and human capacity in energy modelling and planning.
  • To collect and maintain an open central database of energy research and related data.
  • To research and develop suitable models for the South African energy system.
  • To provide research support and advice on government initiatives regarding energy data collection, energy modelling and planning.
  • To collaborate with international bodies regarding research on energy data, energy modelling, planning and policy development.
  • To develop the necessary skills and resources to support the following:
    Energy modelling
    Energy Technology innovation
    Contribute towards the development of a centralised energy planning database which is up to date and can support the requirements of multiple government institutions (national and local).

Energy Research Centre (ECR), University of Cape Town (UCT) Collaboration

Historical (2009 – 2012)

The CESAR programme within SANEDI contracted ERC to undertake research during the period of 2009 to 2012. The study produced two data rich working papers which were extensively referenced in the transport sections of two major national government reports, the 2012 IEP and the 2013 Mitigation Potential Study. The study input data, assumptions, methodologies and results were disseminated in presentations to the South African National Energy Association (SANEA), the 16th Annual IUAPPA World Clean Air Conference and to students and staff of the University of Stellenbosch’s Mechanical Engineering Faculty as a research lecture. The 2nd working paper was accepted for the 2013 International Energy Workshop in Paris.

The aim of this project was to perform a comprehensive analysis of regional transport demand in South Africa in the medium to long term under different scenario assumptions. In addition, considering what the resulting demand for liquid fuels would be and the associated projected CO2 emissions. The project focused on the development of a number of models which, when combined, can be used to develop scenarios around the likely future energy and infrastructure requirements of the transport sector and its major influences in terms of both energy and emissions. The future energy demand of the transport sector was calculated in terms of services performed (‘useful’ energy) as well as the amount of energy supplied (‘final’ energy). This allows analysis of the substitution between alternative energy forms and modes as well as an appraisal of the evolution of the technological improvements in vehicles. A number of modelling techniques were combined to provide a novel and rigorous methodology for estimating the current and future vehicle parc as well as the associated energy demand. In the end; five models were developed for this study:

  • A vehicle parc model.
  • A time budget model.
  • A computable general equilibrium model.
  • A freight demand model .
  • A fuel demand model.

A detailed report consisting of an executive summary, two ‘papers’ and a report on two stakeholder workshops that were held during the course of the project was completed as deliverables. The ‘papers’ are stand-alone data rich documents currently part of the ERC ‘working paper series’. The first paper focuses on the characterisation of the current vehicle parc of South Africa by province. The second paper focused on the projection of the future demand under different scenario assumptions. The complete data set required to replicate the results of the model are provided in spreadsheet format.

Summary of Outputs

The International Energy Workshop (IEW) 2012 held in Cape Town had over 180 participants, 40 of which were South African participants and over 94 papers were presented, of which 10 were from South Africa.

The ERC programme produced 5 masters in 2009 and 8 masters in 2010 – 2011

The UP programme produced 2 PHD’s, one of the PHD’s has joined the university as a lecturer

An open database for energy research data was implemented with data providers Statistics South Africa, DoE & NERSA. This initiative is sponsored by SANEDI, DST and UCT. New user registrations are managed by SANEDI & the ERC.

Data rich working papers and five models were developed in the study: a vehicle parc model (in Analytica); a time budget model (spreadsheet); a computable general equilibrium model (in GAMS, used to project income growth and GDP growth in a consistent manner); a freight demand model (spreadsheet); and a fuel demand model (spreadsheet). Data with which to populate transport sector models is sparse in South Africa, and a broad range of input assumptions were discussed in detail.

Modelling of regional liquid fuels demand in the transport sector study was completed as a direct input into the IEP process for the transport sector and the 2013 Mitigation Potential Study.

Provision of research support and advice on government initiatives regarding energy data collection, energy modelling and planning

SANEDI supports the DoE and international bodies regarding research on energy data, energy modelling, planning and policy development



Current (2014 – 2017)