The custom-built EnergyDRIVE truck has kicked-off its 2022 tour of the country, commencing its trek from Cape Town before heading across the three Cape provinces, where it will visit around 2 000 learners across 21 schools, before making its way back to the Durban University of Technology (DUT). This is the fourth and most expansive trip since the partnership between the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and DUT started in 2017, sharing the benefits of renewable energy technologies with thousands of learners in outlying communities across the country.
“We are going back-to-basics this year in that our theme and focus is ‘creating a social acceptance to embrace Renewable Energy’, to show learners that small changes in how we use energy in our homes, can impact our communities in a positive way over the long term. Teaching young people how to make these changes in their homes, is an essential facet in them understanding their responsibility and the effects of climate change and the impact of global warming, hence, encouraging changes in their attitudes and behaviour. It will also help youth to adapt and understand the conversation around climate change and energy efficiency related trends. We hope to influence the decision-making in their daily lives, future aspirations for their education, the impact they will make in their communities and their likelihood to adopt sustainable lifestyles,” said Niveshen Govender, CEO of SAWEA.
The EnergyDRIVE’s route and the mobility of this custom-built vehicle makes it ideal to reach high schools situated within wind and solar farm beneficiary communities. These communities are often located in areas that are not easily accessible and where learners do not readily have access to information about these technologies.
The container features attractive interactive demonstration models, which assist with understanding a range of renewable technologies, raising awareness of renewable power resources as well as addressing the important issues associated with climate change, bringing home the impact of the environmental concerns that plague our country and the rest of the world. Featuring a solar roof structure, biogas digester, photovoltaic panel display unit as well as a solar hot water display unit, the EnergyDRIVE teaches learners about the benefits and uses of renewable energy technologies.
“The EnergyDRIVE has always been designed to be interactive, enticing, and educational and we will keep the same standard of presentation this year. There are more students attending this year as the Covid 19 restrictions have been lifted, and we will reach and impact the learners in these schools in the same way, if not better than last year,” added Govender.
Over 7 000 learners, in Grades 9 to 12, will have been reached by the conclusion of this year’s trip (2017 – 2022), demonstrating the enormous impact of this partnership between the SAWEA and the DUT, who consider high school learners to be the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow. The mobile unit will visit the first school on 17 October and the last school, three weeks later, having spent time in nineteen host communities along the way.
NOTE: The renewable energy companies supporting this year’s EnergyDRIVE are: BTE Renewables, Cennergi, Dorper Wind Farm, EIMS Africa, Enel Green Power, Mainstream Renewable Power and Noblesfontein Wind Farm.