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EnergyDRIVE to engage with rural communities

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) will partner with the Durban University of Technology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and embark on an educational road trip with the EnergyDRIVE.

SAWEA explained in a statement that the custom-built truck is designed to teach rural learners about the benefits and uses of renewable energy technologies and is expected to engage with over 2,500 rural high school learners located close to wind farms.

EnergyDRIVE initiative

The project that was launched by Durban University of Technology (DUT) and Energy and Water Seta (EWSETA) in November last year.

A first of its kind in Africa, the initiative aims to raise awareness of renewable power resources and climate change.

Participating partners and sponsors include the South Africa Wind Energy Project Phase 2 (SAWEP 2) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Department of Energy, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), the Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) South Africa Country Office.

Features and benefits

Participating wind farms will each fund a portion of the road show as well as host field trips for participating learners.

Beyond Wind power, the EnergyDRIVE features a solar roof structure, biogas digester, solar photovoltaic (PV) panel display unit as well as a solar hot water display unit.

The walls of the container are made up of a battery bank, photovoltaic components, a TV and display cupboards, making it an inspirational and experiential teaching aid.

Brenda Martin, CEO of SAWEA, explained: “The mobility of this custom-built vehicle makes it ideal to reach high schools situated within wind farm beneficiary communities. These communities are often located in areas that are not easily accessible and learners often do not have access to information about these technologies.”

She added: “The container features attractive interactive demonstration models which assist with understanding a range of renewable technologies.”

EnergyDRIVE. Source: SAWEA

National route

The mobile unit is expected to depart Durban on 3 November and arrive in Cape Town on 13 November, having spent time in host communities along the way, the wind association noted.

In Cape Town the vehicle will be exhibited at the WindAc Africa student workshop and at SARETEC, creating awareness about renewable energy resources, demonstrating the use of renewable energy technologies and promoting skills development options in renewable power, before arriving at the WindAc conference at Cape Town’s CITCC, between 14 and 16 November.

“WindAc’s focus is on discussion and sharing of knowledge relating to Wind power between researchers and students alike, and to inspire students to build careers within the wind sector.

“This year’s EnergyDRIVE road trip aims to reach out to rural students and get them involved in the potential for renewable power technologies in a rapidly changing world,” concluded Martin.


Featured image: SAWEA

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.