WINDABA 2014: Power2thePeople: Changing lives through wind energy

Wind energy conference to focus on community benefit and economic development

As the South African energy sector continues to look for injections of hope, the South African Wind Energy Association’s (SAWEAs) official conference ‘Windaba’ promises to be more popular than ever in its fourth consecutive year. Already the wind industry is adding significant quantities of desperately needed electricity to the national grid. Now it promises to tackle the issues of rural development, job creation and community development. While the conference will again focus on the full spectrum of topics important to wind power in South Africa, special attention will be focussed on socio-economic contributions and possibilities. 

The theme for this year’s conference, which will be held in Cape Town in November, is ‘Power2thePeople: Changing lives through wind energy’ and will highlight the significant benefits that developments will bring to neighbouring communities. More than ZAR5 billion has already been earmarked for social economic development from wind farms already in operation and those currently being built. A community trust ownership scheme is also part of the programme and local communities own up to five per cent of their local development in shares. How these financial benefits can be most effectively spent and distributed will form a major part of the debate at Windaba.

SAWEA already has an impressive list of prestigious speakers confirmed and expects the number of delegates to again exceed 500. Participants include the Energy Minister and Windaba patron Ms Tina Jomat-Pettersson, and key representatives of the Independent Power Producers (“IPP”) office administrating the very successful REIPPPP procurement program. There will also be an opportunity for direct engagement on the subject of local content between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, while the team of consultants leading the study into localisation of the wind energy sector in South Africa will also be in attendance.

Energy thought leader Mike Roussow  from Eskom and his colleague Keith Bowen, the utility’s modeller of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will join Cas Coovadia, acting CEO of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) to debate in the plenary session on ‘aligning the South African wind agenda with the broader policy objectives from Government’. A number of influential international speakers will also contribute, including the Danish Minister for Trade and Development, the Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the Executive Secretary of REN 21.

An organised visit to one of the Western Cape’s operational wind farms forms part of the agenda for delegates and media representatives. Participants will also contribute to a high level strategic planning session for South Africa’s International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) which will be held for the first time in 2015, incorporating Windaba and that is expected to attract more than five thousand delegates from all over the globe.

For further information on Windaba and the current programme, please visit the Windaba website at  Booth space and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Editor’s notes:

WINDaba is the official wind industry event hosted by the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) in partnership with GWEC. The annual conference and exhibition will take place from 3-5 November 2014, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

For further information or an interview with SAWEA CEO Johan van den Berg please contact: [email protected] or call +27 (0) 11 2140660

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.
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