Celebrating Youth Day 2021 in South Africa, ESI Africa spoke with Lenah Mabusela, one of Globeleq South Africa’s power engineers, about the importance of this commemorative day as well as diversity in the renewable energy sector.
As a power engineer, working across eight power plants, Lenah and the team that she works with, harness their ability to problem solve almost daily. “The highlight of my job is also the most frustrating part of my job and that would be problem-solving. I also enjoy optimising systems, usually for safety, which is a core value for Globeleq,” she explains.
As a woman in South Africa’s renewable energy sector, she sees diversity as a key attribute for change and excellence. “Diversity is required for great things to happen; different types of perspectives introduce different thinking and inspired solutions. Our professions and capabilities are as equal as our education and training, the only difference is our perspectives and goals and that is an advantage for any field.”
Lenah believes that in the country’s transition away from fossil fuels to ensure energy sustainability, women and youth are essential for this journey. “The sector is still in its infancy in South Africa and young minds are needed to develop the sector for a country that suffers from energy shortages as we currently do.”
The [renewable] sector is still in its infancy in South Africa and young minds are needed to develop [it]. Lenah Mabusela
Lenah Mabusela on the optimal energy mix
Her vision for the country’s energy hinges on energy storage, in order to enable the country to dispatch power sufficiently to address the recurring loadshedding. Her optimal power includes a wide range of energy sources to make up the country’s energy mix, best described as ‘energy agnostic’.
“Wind, solar with storage, geothermal, biomass, natural gas and the controversial nuclear. I’m sure that with all the great minds in our sector, this is a realistic challenge and not idealism,” said Lenah.
Speaking about Youth Day, she sees this as a period where all South African’s can reflect on the historical actions and sacrifices taken by the youth of 1976 and remember the cost of that, which we may take for granted today, freedom and education.
“Youth Month is also a reminder to all individuals that challenging the status quo is not simply an act of defiance but a necessary cry for change and that change is not to be feared as is evident in South Africa today. It is an opportunity to reflect on how much was achieved by a disadvantaged group and review how much more we can achieve with all our advantages,” concludes Lenah. ESI