School learners across South Africa’s green energy map are getting ready to welcome the EnergyDRIVE road-show, a partnership between the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The EnergyDRIVE forms part of the WindAc Africa Conference, the flagship industry academic conference of SAWEA.
Considering that high school learners are the leaders and decisions makers of tomorrow, the programme promotes renewable energy and climate change awareness, instilling knowledge to learners across rural communities, about the benefits and uses of clean energy technologies. The intention is to increase awareness to create a generation of well-informed decision-makers that can play an essential role in increasing adaptation and mitigation capacities of communities, whilst empowering youth to adopt sustainable lifestyles.
Back for the third year since its inaugural 2017 trip, the EnergyDRIVE has already reached almost 3 000 learners, in Grade 9 to 12. This year, the much loved yellow converted mobile edu-unit, will make its way to remote communities where learners often do not have access to information about renewable technologies.
“This initiative stretches across the renewable technologies, to include communities within the vicinity of solar farms. In this way we are not only reaching out to new communities in towns and rural areas but we are also attracting other technology partners and stakeholders who have a national footprint. We will be announcing these partners in due course, but for now have already confirmed fifteen schools across the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape Provinces,” explained Ntombifuthi Ntuli, CEO of SAWEA, who added that the participating wind and solar farms will each fund a portion of the road show, as well as host field trips for participating learners.
The EnergyDRIVE is designed to be interactive, enticing and educational. It features a solar roof structure, biogas digester, photovoltaic 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.
“We believe education is an essential element of the global response to climate change. It helps people understand and address the impact of global warming, increases “climate literacy” among young people, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour, and helps them adapt to climate change related trends, concluded Ntuli.