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The EnergyDRIVE truck.

South Africa

Young minds empowered as EnergyDRIVE 2023 tour kicks off

This is the fifth year that the unmistakable yellow bus will trek from Cape Town before heading across the three Cape provinces to visit an estimated 2 000 learners across 21 schools.

The custom-built EnergyDRIVE truck has kicked-off its 2023 tour of the country with the Green Youth Network (GYN) on board this year, demonstrating the key role that the youth play in combating climate change.

Known and recognised throughout communities along the renewable energy roadmap, this is the fifth year that the unmistakable yellow bus will trek from Cape Town before heading across the three Cape provinces to visit an estimated 2 000 learners across 21 schools.

Learners are in for a highlight this year with wind farms opening their doors to the next generation, making it an unforgettable experience, and increasing the opportunity to learn and experience the power of renewable energy.

The long-standing partnership between the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and the Durban University of Technology (DUT), South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA), is further augmented with the addition of GYN, an NPO unifying the voice of South Africa’s youth interest and sustainable skills development in the green economy, as well as a promoter of education on issues related to environmental conservation in South Africa.

“Considering that high school learners are to be the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, we are very happy to have youth advocates of South Africa’s green economy on board. The demonstrations, experiential learning and tools that can be implemented in everyday lives are all on the agenda this year. With the latest Watt’s booklet, we aim to educate students about the far-reaching effects of small energy-saving habits within our homes. Our goal is to empower young minds with knowledge about climate change, energy efficiency, and the importance of sustainable living. We hope that this knowledge will shape their decision-making, inspire their educational choices, encourage community involvement, and foster a commitment to adopting sustainable lifestyles,” said Niveshen Govender, CEO of SAWEA.

Over 7 000 learners, in Grades 9 to 12, will have been reached by the conclusion of this year’s trip (2017 – 2023), demonstrating the enormous impact of the EnergyDRIVE, which is charged to share the benefits of renewable energy technologies with learners in outlying communities, close to wind farms (and a few solar PV farms), across the country.

The mobile unit will visit the first school on 18 October and the last school, three weeks later, having spent time in nineteen host communities along the way.

The container showcases engaging interactive models designed to enhance comprehension of various renewable technologies. These exhibits not only promote awareness of renewable energy sources but also address the pressing concerns linked to climate change. With a solar roof structure, biogas digester, photovoltaic panel display, and a solar hot water unit, the EnergyDRIVE offers valuable insights into the advantages and applications of renewable energy.

“The EnergyDRIVE’s mobility is perfectly tailored for reaching high schools in wind and solar farm beneficiary communities. These areas are often remote and lack access to information about renewable technologies. Our goal is to bridge this information gap for the benefit of these students,” concluded Govender.

Participants of this year’s EnergyDRIVE programme include:

Golden Valley Wind Farm:

· Sipho Camagu High School

· Lonwabo High School

· Cookhouse High School

Aggenneys Solar Farm and Konkoonsies II Solar:

· Aggeneys High School

· Gariep High School

· Prieska High School

Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm:

· Loeriesfontein Primary School (Grade 7)

· Loeriesfontein Hoerskool

Noblesfontein Wind Farm:

· Victoria West High School

Soetwater Wind Farm – Sutherland:

· Roggeveld Primary School

· Hoerskool Sutherland

Dorper Wind Farm:

· Siyaphakama High School in Sterkstroom

· Molteno High School in Molteno

· Joe Slovo Freedom High School in Molteno

Nojoli and Gibson Bay Wind Farms:

· Cookhouse Secondary School

· Lungisa High School

Perdekraal East Wind Farm:

· Lingcinga Zethu High School

· Ceres Secondary School

· Bella Vista High School

Karusa Wind Farm – Laingsburg:

· Acacia Primary School

· Laingsburg High School

Klipheuwel Wind Farm – Caledon:

· Swartberg Secondary School

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