Home » Eskom joins SAWEA’s EnergyDRIVE to promote renewable power technologies in Mpumalanga schools

Eskom joins SAWEA’s EnergyDRIVE to promote renewable power technologies in Mpumalanga schools

by Tia

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), Eskom, Danish Embassy and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) have joined hands to promote renewable power technologies and provide career guidance in schools in Mpumalanga’s rural communities this month. 

This is the second time the social upliftment project will make its way to Mpumalanga. Aptly named energyDRIVE, it expects to reach about 30,000 Grades 6 to 12 learners in Mpumalanga between 15 and 30 May 2024, with a second phase planned for July once learners have completed their mid-year exams.

energyDRIVE comprises a custom-built mobile edu-unit that showcases various technologies related to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind energy components, solar PV rooftops, battery storage, biogas digesters and solar water heater systems. 

In addition to an interactive, educational and engaging presentation on renewable energy technologies and potential careers in the sector and a chance for learners to interact with the technologies on the truck, Eskom will deliver a presentation on electricity safety and the dangers of illegal connections.

SAWEA CEO, Niveshen Govender, says the purpose of the drive is to demonstrate the opportunities in the renewable energy industry and the organisations’ commitment to fostering green skills in South Africa, particularly in a province that plays a central role in South Africa’s energy transition.

“Aligned with South Africa’s Just Energy Transition goals, the initiative is focused on inspiring and empowering young people to embrace renewable energy technologies and become instrumental players in building South Africa’s green economy.”

Not only do SAWEA and its partners want to make these technologies more tangible for young people – many who have never seen a wind turbine before – they also want to educate them about the diverse career opportunities in the sector and create future energy leaders.

“We have found that young people do not necessarily consider careers in renewable energy, because they think they need an engineering qualification or excellence in mathematics and science to be able to enter the industry. Our job is to educate them about the many other opportunities that exist in areas such as operations, maintenance, project management, project development, human resources, IT, event management and administration, to name a few,” he adds.

Since its inception in the Cape in 2017, energyDRIVE has reached more than 8,300 learners from over 60 schools across South Africa’s Northern, Western and Eastern Cape regions. Subsequently, the Mpumalanga edition began in 2022 with visits to eight schools in the region and ending with a visit to Eskom’s Komati Power Station, which is being recommissioned and transformed into a renewable energy resource centre. 

This time, the bus will travel through Hendrina, Blinkpan, Komati, Middelburg, eMalahleni and Kriel during Part 1 (15 – 30 May) with Part 2 to follow in July 2024 in Lekwa West Circuit, Steve Tshwete,  Emalahleni, Nkangala districts. 

Govender says with wind energy gaining momentum in Mpumalanga, the organisation believes that, with the support of its partners – Eskom, the Danish Embassy and DUT – there is hope for a resilient green economy as the country transitions to a low-carbon future.      

energyDRIVE plays a vital role in promoting renewable energy awareness and education in South Africa. This is emphasised by SAWEA’s partnership with Eskom given their critical role as the system operator.

Through their Komati Training Facility, Eskom facilitates the reskilling, retraining and upskilling of their employees, as well as community members. By endorsing initiatives such as the energyDrive, Eskom is able to serve as a global reference on how to transition fossil-fuel assets, and the youth are an integral part of that journey.

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