First wind energy-focussed academic conference in Africa receives overwhelming response to student sponsorship programme

A unique opportunity is arising for the first time for academics and researchers to share knowledge about wind energy in Africa in the form of the first academic conference on the subject to be held on the continent: WindAc Africa.

With the theme ‘Towards 100% Renewables’ the conference will establish academic exchange in South Africa and aims to encourage further education, innovation and aspiration of local students. The event is also offering a special programme for 30 high potential students, covering expenses such as the conference fee, travel and accommodation in order for the learners to attend. A guided site visit to a wind farm and a networking dinner are also included.

The student sponsorship programme has received an overwhelming response with 71 applications from learners at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, University of Limpopo, University of Fort Hare, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, North-West University and University of the Free State.

Mike Mulcahy, CEO of GreenCape which is sponsoring the student programme comments: “This opportunity is in line with GreenCape’s goal to enable the Western Cape to become the green economy hub of sub-Saharan Africa and its commitment to building skills in the growing green economy in South Africa.”

WindAc Africa is aimed at everybody who would like to speak, discuss and find out about the challenges which exist to the growth of the wind sector in South Africa and globally and how these challenges can be addressed through scientific research.

The conference will be hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). It was conceived as sister event to the established annual wind energy-focussed conference Windaba, which is entering its 6th year and will be held directly afterwards from 2-3 November.

“Whilst the primary purpose of this programme is to bring superior wind research knowledge to South African students, the intention is also to reward the students for their excellent work, motivate and inspire them to pursue their academic path, and offer them the opportunity to network with their peers: the future leading experts in wind energy in Southern Africa,” explains SAWEA CEO Johan van den Berg. “We are very proud and most excited to host with GWEC the first academic wind conference in Africa. The maturity, size and ambition of our industry makes it imperative. The time has arrived. It is the academic hour for African wind power”.

South Africa is currently being celebrated as having the fastest growing green economy in the world, according to Moody’s Corporation. There has never been a better time to establish such an eventand the quality and prestige of its sponsors and supporters attest to this. These include the Danish Energy Agency, Danish Government and the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC).

Trine Rask Thygesen, Ambassador from the Embassy of Denmark in South Africa describes the event: “It is a spiralling gathering of multi-disciplinary thinkers, professionals, experts and policy-makers seeking to improve conditions for wind power and take the South African wind market to the next level by sharing, discussing and interacting with colleagues in the sector. 

She continues: “The academic focus on wind power in South Africa is vital to open up doors for new ways of thinking wind power deployment, integration and optimization. Not just in terms of mechanical and electric engineering, but also reaching far into spheres of environmental, economic and political science.”

The conference programme includes speakers from around the world as well as the leading experts from South Africa. A ‘Business Meets Science’ platform aims to foster dialogue between the South African wind research and wind industry community. A poster exhibition shall facilitate the exchanges between the South African wind industry and academia on the practical relevance of research topics, new problem solving approaches and possible partnerships between science and industry.

WindAc Africa takes place at SARETEC in Cape Town from Monday 31 October to Tuesday 1 November 2016.


For further information or to interview a member of SAWEA about the event, please contact Jo Reeves at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


SAWEA is a non-profit, industry organisation representing the wind industry in South Africa. Its members include both national and international entities active in the entire wind energy supply chain. Its aim is to promote the sustainable use of commercial wind energy in South Africa; to contribute knowledge and human resources to the streamlining of the policy and regulatory framework for wind in SA; to facilitate synergy between the growth of the industry and the achievement of the broader socio-economic aims of Government (including training, job creation and localisation); to disseminate information; to act as a focal point for discussion between members, government, the media and the public.

WindAc Africa
In its inaugural year, WindAc Africa is positioned to become the leading academic wind conference on the Continent. The event, which will be held at the South African Renewable Technology Centre (SARETEC) in Cape Town, aims to be the platform for an international high-quality academic exchange, which will cover the entire wind-power value chain from wind resource to policy making for wind energy. An impressive international steering committee has been established to develop the programme content.  For the latest information on the programme visit:

Windaba 2016
Windaba is the annual, official wind industry event hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The annual conference and exhibition will take place on 2-3 November 2016, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. For further information, please visit

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