Africa’s first academic wind industry conference an unmitigated success

WindAc Africa, the first academic wind energy conference on the continent, has finished in style with a book launch and an award for best presentation.
The two-day conference, held at The River Club in Cape Town offered a forum for academics and researchers to share cutting edge data and intelligence one the finer technicalities of the wind energy industry. The event also offered a unique learning opportunity for 30 carefully selected university students through a sponsorship programme allowing them access to the conference, a visit to Biotherm Energy’s Dassiesklip Wind Farm, accommodation and a Q and A with Dr Phil Mjwara, Director General of the Government’s Department of Science and Technology.
Haltor Mataifa, a research student from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), has found the experience invaluable: “I have been researching renewable energy for some time now, but this is the first academic event focussed on wind energy that I have attended. I’ve found it very enriching and it has given me a wider perspective which will contribute to my research output. More events like this are needed to prevent the academic element of wind energy lagging behind the rest of the industry.”
The event, which was organised by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) was full-to-capacity with 120 delegates, 30 speakers and 30 students. Speakers at the event offered an international flavour with participants from the USA, Germany, Denmark and France as well as contributions from prestigious South Africans.
“WindAc is an exciting new addition to the growing series of institutions that accompany the success of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer’s Procurement Programme. I trust that this first gathering will help to foster the research and study necessary to maximize South Africans’ input to their growing renewable energy industry,” comments Steve Sawyer, Secretary General, GWEC.
Sessions covered a diverse range of such subjects including lessons learnt on community consultation and how renewable energy development can implement changes, knowledge sharing around wind resource and characteristics, the design and planning of electric systems with high penetration of wind energy and research activities on the policy and institutional approaches to deployment of wind energy.
Key sponsors of the event South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD) and Germany’s GIZ chose the occasion to launch their new collaboration – a book called ‘The State of Wind Energy Research in South Africa’, including a presentation of their study results and a panel discussion on the gaps in wind energy research and how they can be addressed.
Dr Deborah Lew from GE Energy Consulting won the award for best presentation for her subject ‘Integrating Wind into Coal-dominated Power Systems’. Before she joined GE she spent 16 years with the National Energy Laboratory (NREL).
WindAc Africa is part of Wind Energy Week which also includes the 6th annual wind industry conference ‘Windaba 2016’ and an Industry Gives Back outreach day with the community of Atlantis.

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Students enjoying an educational visit to Biotherm Energy’s Dassiesklip Wind Farm

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30 students from universities across the country with the Director General Dr Phil Mjwara

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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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 organised by SAWEA in partnership with the Global Wind Energy Council and is positioned to become the leading academic wind conference on the Continent. The event, which will be held at The River Club 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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