The Renewable Energy Centre was founded by P-L Lemercier, when he relocated from Nelspruit to Port Elizabeth, in March 2008. The initial objective was to bring together local role players (e.g. NMMU) to raise awareness of the need to develop and implement local renewable energy projects that would help with the transition to the inevitable low carbon future. [See Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits to Growth and Biophysical Economics for some of the compelling empirical evidence and theory that supports this assertion].
REC lay essentially dormant since then until 2011 , when subsequent to PL and the present members becoming certified Permaculture Design[i] (PD) practitioners in October 2011, it was resurrected to serve as a vehicle for offering PD services. In the informed view of the REC members PD is presently the most advanced technology[ii], as well as the most appropriate technology in the world, that can help humanity survive the coming crises.[iii]
REC has thus been re-defined as a NPO/PBO company with the prime objective of identifying and implementing projects in disadvantaged urban and rural communities, motivated by PD ethics and following the 12 PD principles[iv], that significantly contribute to climate change mitigation (i.e. minimise non-renewable energy inputs and maximise renewable energy storage through, for example, water storage and bio-mass carbon sequestration), localisation of food production, increased community resilience to climate changes shocks (e.g. water scarcity, increasing weather extremes, increasing non-renewable energy costs, and, especially, food security) and enhanced human and social development.
[i] See e.g. http://permaculturenews.org/author/Geoff%20Lawton and, for the best overview of PD and it’s philosophical and scientific credentials, grounded in overwhelming empirical evidence, see Permaculture, Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by Dave Holmgren, co-founder of PD in the 70’s with Bill Mollison . “Holmgren draws a correlation between every aspect of how we organize our lives, communities and landscapes and our ability to creatively adapt to the ecological realities that shape human destiny. For students and teachers of Permaculture this book provides something more fundamental and distilled than Mollison’s encyclopedic Designers Manual. For the general reader it provides refreshing perspectives on a range of environmental issues and shows how permaculture is much more than just a system of gardening. For anyone seriously interested in understanding the foundations of sustainable design and culture, this book is essential reading.”
[ii] Technology is defined as “created capability”; namely created by humans enhancing the capability to manipulate physical things (matter, energy and information). Technology can reside in artifacts, systems and humans (as know-how).
[iii] See this 15min video http://www.geofflawton.com/sq/15449-geoff-lawton by Geoff Lawton that provides compelling evidence supporting the assertions made here regarding the power of Permaculture Design technology to address the current crises.