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

It’s the second time the social upliftment project – energyDRIVE – has been conducted in the province and it expects to reach about 30 000 Grades 6 to 12 learners.

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,” Govender says.

Not only do SAWEA and its partners want to make these technologies more tangible for young people – many of whom 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,” Govender says.

“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 just to name a few.”