The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) held its fourth industry academic conference – WindAc Africa 2021 – on October 5, with a keynote address delivered by Danish Energy Agency (DEA) director-general Kristoffer Böttzauw.
The DEA is a SAWEA strategic partner and a keen supporter of the wind energy sector.
This year’s conference, being held from October 5 to 7, offers masterclasses for attending students, based on topical issues, which have been grouped and themed ‘New and Emerging Markets in an African Context’.
The key objective of the conference is to engage the students on specific topics to increase learning in areas of interest and that are relevant to Africa, with this year’s conference featuring topics on the hydrogen economy and offshore wind.
The presenters of the masterclasses on these topics will break down the topics in such a way that the students can recognise the opportunities, scope and scale; which will not only inform, teach and equip the students with the requisite knowledge, but also present them with alternative careers and skills for the future.
WindAc Africa Conference programme manager Lindo Sibiya says the conference will hopefully plant a seed for young and future leaders in the wind energy sector to not only pursue careers in line with the topics, but also to gain exposure to the new opportunities.
Addressing the opening of the conference was also Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University electrical engineering associate Professor Peter Freere, who is also a member of the WindAc 2021 Scientific Advisory Committee.
According to SAWEA, the wind energy sector looks to the academic community to unpack and analyse investment capital, skills availability, land availability, grid access, operational excellence and investment in local supply chain development.
The organisation says all of these aspects play a role in ensuring that the industry will successfully deliver the required 14.4 GW of wind power by 2030.
Following a two-year break, this year’s conference programme is, once again, based on industry-relevant papers selected through rigorous peer review, with the final selection being done by a scientific advisory panel.
The selected range of papers are geared towards sharing contemporary knowledge for an integrated approach to research in achieving a successful power transition away from coal-derived forms of energy, and towards a greater share of renewables.