Africa’s first academic wind energy conference boasts impressive international line up


Taking place in Cape Town in its inaugural year, WindAc Africa is the continent’s first academic conference focussing on wind power.
Conceived as a sister conference to well established annual wind energy conference Windaba, hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association, the event offers academics, researchers and students a unique forum for knowledge sharing within the sector. It will run from 31 October to 1 November.
An impressive cast of international speakers has made themselves available for this unprecedented event, which shares the theme of ‘Towards 100% Renewables’ with Windaba which runs immediately afterwards, also in Cape Town.Global participants include:

  • Matthias Willenbacher, from Germany will participate in the opening session as a keynote speaker, sharing knowledge gleaned from his experience as founder of renewable energy developer JUWI where he was owner and CEO until 2015.
  • Angelina Galiteva from the USA is founder and Chair of the Board for the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and Chairperson for the World Council for Renewable Energy. She will provide a keynote speech in the opening session outlining California’s renewable energy ambitions and some lessons learnt along the way.
  • From France, former science journalist Cedric Philibert who is currently with the International Energy Agency will discuss ‘Next generation wind and solar power – from cost to value’.  He has previously advised the French Minister of Environment from 1988 to 1990. In 1990, he published two books on climate change and renewable energies.
  • Keynote speaker Dr. Kurt Rohrig is Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy Systems Technology (IWES) and Head of the R&D division “Energy Economy and Grid Operation” at IWES. His presentation will focus on ‘Ancillary services from renewables’.
  • Dr. Debbie Lew from the USA is a Technical Director at GE Energy Consulting. Previously, she spent 16 years at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a Senior Engineer, Group Manager, and Project Leader. Her presentation will look at ‘Integrating wind into coal dominated power systems’.
  • The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz will provide the keynote speech titles ‘Wind Resource in SA: on par with Solar’.

The Renewable Energy Centre of Research & Development (RECORD) at SANEDI and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) through the South African Energy Programme (SAGEN) have chosen WindAc Africa to launch their publication ‘The State of Wind Energy Research in South Africa’.

“The publication will present an overview of current South African wind energy research, highlighting research themes and priorities as well as possible gaps.  Prominent wind energy researchers will also be profiled. We hope that the publication will contribute to enhanced wind energy research output to the benefit of industry and academia alike" said Dr. Karen Surridge-Talbot from the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANEDI).   

The report was commissioned and funded by  the South African German Energy Programme, implemented by GIZ and will be launched at the ‘Business meets Science’ session at WindAc Africa, sponsored by GreenCape and SANEDI. The Renewable Energy Centre for Research and Development (RECORD) at SANEDI and GIZ will also support some post-graduate students and international speakers at the event to support the development of young scientists in the sector.

"WindAc Africa is an excellent platform to share knowledge and exchange experience between South African and German wind researchers" said Marlett Balmer, from GIZ.  Another positive aspect to the conference is the student sponsorship programme which was so oversubscribed that the organisers increased the number of recipients. There will now be 30 students participating from 11 different universities, encompassing six different fields of studies and with various degrees including bachelor, master, PhD, Honour, Btech and Dtech.

The conference meets the Engineering Council of South Africa requirements to award 2 CPD (Continuing Professional Development Validation) points for attendance at WindAc Africa.

WindAc Africa takes place at The River Club 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.

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