The custom-built EnergyDRIVE truck, has arrived in Cape Town, completing the first half of its 3-week wind route journey across the country, having taught thousands of learners about the benefits and uses of renewable energy technologies. The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has partnered with the Durban University of Technology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to make this national educational road trip with the EnergyDRIVE possible.
Whilst stationed in Cape Town, the EnergyDRIVE will be exhibited at the WindAc Africa student workshop at SARETEC, creating awareness about renewable energy resources, demonstrating the use of renewable energy technologies and promoting skills development options in renewable power, before arriving at the WindAc and Windaba conferences being held at the CTICC, between 14 and 16 November. “This year’s EnergyDRIVE road trip aims to reach out to over 2 500 rural students and get them involved in the potential for renewable power technologies in a rapidly changing world,” explained Brenda Martin, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association.
A first of its kind in Africa, the initiative aims to raise awareness of renewable power resources and climate change. The EnergyDRIVE 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. What’s more, the mobility of this custom-built vehicle makes it ideal to reach high schools situated within wind farm beneficiary communities. These communities are often located in areas that are not easily accessible and learners do not easily have access to information about these technologies.
The mobile unit departed from Durban on 3 November and made its way through the Eastern Cape before traveling through the Boland area on its way to Cape Town. It will depart, on its way to visit Atlantis and West Coast schools on 17 November before heading on to the Northern Cape and circling back to KwaZulu Natal on 24 November, having spent time in host communities along the way.
Participating wind farms will each fund a portion of the road show as well as host field trips for participating learners, these include: Nojoli Wind Farm, Cookhouse Wind Farm, Metrowind Van Stadens Wind Farm, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Kouga Wind Farm, Gibson Bay Wind Farm and Gouda Wind Farm.
Two solar power plants, namely De Aar Solar Power and Droogfontein Solar Power, are will also be hosting the EnergyDRIVE.