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Renewable Energy

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | STEM South Africa


In a world where the effects of global warming, poor water supply and over-pollution are more apparent every day, the need for renewable energy has never been more urgent. South Africa has taken great strides in using clean sources of energy and investing in technology that will make renewable energy more sustainable over the long term. The Renewable Energy program in South Africa allows students to explore the challenges, successes and processes of implementing and utilizing renewable energy projects.

Students will acquire a solid foundation in the field of renewable energy science and technology, and will be equipped with the necessary theoretical and technical skills to advance its future use and potential. During the program, students will be exposed to the various ways in which renewable energy is being used as a clean energy source that can be regenerated for years to come. Students will gain understanding of why fossil fuels have been used, why they are environmentally and economically harmful, and how new technology will improve the sustainability of renewable energy.

Students will be given lectures by experts, officials, conservationists and researchers. Students will also be taken on tours of specific sites and conduct basic field research in several locations. A variety of reading material can be recommended to complement the lectures and provoke discussion and critical thought

Why South Africa?

South Africa has many regions that receive 2500 hours of sunlight each year thus making it an ideal location to study renewable energy. The Renewable Energy program involves a fair amount of travelling between locations across this scenic country. The primary locations are the Northern Cape and Western Cape. The Northern Cape region is at the forefront of the solar energy revolution, while the Western Cape is host to wind farms, pumped storage, nuclear power stations and more. The Western Cape provincial government has set itself the target of becoming the green economic hub of Africa, and Cape Town is the province’s center for innovation and administration of environmental business.

Additional locations that can be included in the program are Graaff Reinet, Mpumalanga and St Lucia, where students will be exposed to innovative renewable energy projects that benefit communities in more remote locations.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  • Discuss relevant scientific theories, ideas, methodologies and the newest technologies in renewable energy science
  • Display the necessary theoretical and technical skills to advance renewable energy utilization and potential
  • Illustrate the technical and practical aspects of renewable energy utilization, and methods of minimizing the environmental impacts of energy use
  • Present on energy economics and policies
  • Appreciate the successful execution of renewable energy projects, from initial exploration to implementation and utilization
  • Conduct research on renewable energies and technologies

Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.

Site Visits

Darling Wind Farms

The town of Darling is situated in the Western Cape of South Africa approximately 70km north of Cape Town. The gentle consistency of strong winds over the hills of the Swartland landscape provided an ideal opportunity for the wind farm being built to generate electricity. The Darling wind farm is being developed as a national demonstration project.

Jasper Solar Power Project

The Jasper Solar Power Project completed construction in October 2014 and is fully operational, playing a part in helping South Africa meet its renewable energy targets, in addition to stimulating long-term economic development and creating new jobs. The Jasper Project produces 180,000 megawatt-hours of energy annually for South African residents, enough to power approximately 80,000 homes. Jasper is located adjacent to the Lesedi Power Project and also adjacent to SolarReserve’s Redstone CSP Tower project with integrated storage.

Lesedi Solar Power Project

The Lesedi Solar Power Project completed construction in May 2014 and is fully operational, successfully helping to power the Eskom South African electric grid with renewable energy. The project is playing a part in helping South Africa meet its renewable energy targets, in addition to stimulating long-term economic development and creating new jobs. The Lesedi Project generates enough clean electricity to power approximately 65,000 homes in South Africa.

Delta Environmental Centre

The Delta Environmental Centre is an environmental education, training and consultation organization. It is an independent, registered non-profit company that aims, through innovative education and training programs, to enable people to improve their environment by promoting the management and sustainable use of all resources, in line with the South African Constitution.

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station

Koeberg, the only nuclear power station in Africa, has a pressurized water reactor (PWR) design. It boasts
the largest turbine generators in the Southern Hemisphere and is the most southerly-situated nuclear power station in the world.
Palmiet Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Scheme

The Palmiet Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Scheme is regarded as a forerunner in environmental engineering. Palmiet has a dual role. Not only does it generate 400 MW of peaking power into the Eskom National Grid, it is also part of an inter-catchment water project that transfers much needed water to Cape Town. A visit to Palmiet offers the opportunity to explore the fascinating world of hydroelectricity and discover the story behind the “switch” that turns on your lights and powers commerce and industry.

Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program

The Department of Energy (DoE), National Treasury (NT) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) established the IPPPP Unit for the specific purpose of delivering on the IPP procurement objectives. The IPPPP activities continue to evolve in order to effectively respond to the planning and development needs in the current energy context.

Sustainability Institute

The Sustainability Institute was established in Lynedoch Ecovillage in 1999 to provide a space for people to explore an approach to creating a more equitable society. At the core of the SI’s work has been finding ways of living that sustain rather than destroy the eco-system within which all society is embedded.

Other Potential Sites Include:

  • Giant Flag Project
  • Ngodwana Energy Biomass Project

Customize Your Program

Our friendly and experienced program consultants will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.

Featured Experiences

Dinner and Djembe Drumming

Gold Restaurant caters an experience to the opulent heartbeat of African cuisine and culture. Tailoring it’s menu to the diversity found across the African continent, Gold Restaurant offers a gourmet selection seasonally adapted from North, Sub-Saharan, and Southern Africa. Beforehand, guests have the opportunity to join in a djembe drumming session. Feel the pulse of Africa as you drum and dine.

Cape Point

As the most southwestern outcrop of the African continent, Cape Point rises above the cobalt and turquoise-blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. With the sound of the sea rushing below you, climb up to the lighthouse for a view of misty mountains in the distance at one of Cape Town’s most scenic and significant vantage points.

Cape Malay Cooking Class

Jasmina’s house is part of the colorful and immensely cultural tapestry that is the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town. The Malayan cuisine that she imparts is also a part of the rich heritage of the area, seasoned with distinct spices and created from recipes that have been handed down through generations. In the warmth of her kitchen you can learn how to make a mouth-watering Malayan meal, from traditional samosa starters to decadent chicken curry. Afterwards, you can enjoy the living dish of history you have helped to spice.

Robben Island Overnight

Step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela for a night, staying over in prison accommodation with a private tour of the prison and island. Get a feel for the isolation and challenges that the prisoners faced for decades in one of the world's most famous prisons - Robben Island. This is a unique experience that will bring you closer to understanding the challenges that Mandela and many other historical figures faced in their fight for freedom and equality.

Monks Cowl Drakensberg Hike

Located in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa, the trails of Monks Cowl showcase the incredible scenery of Drakensberg in the midst of mountains and valleys. Experience the beauty of South Africa as you explore these picturesque landscapes.

Chokka Trail

Hiking the Chokka trail is a fourteen kilometer adventure, taking you through the Coastal Cradle of Humankind. During the hike, you will have an opportunity to see the second largest blowhole in Southern Africa, and unknown grave, and the remains of the Osprey and Cape Recife. After the hike, there is an included tour of the SANCCOB Penguin Rehabilitation Center. Continuing via Shark Point, there is a calamari tasting at Port St. Francis, then a canal cruise in the late afternoon. The day ends with dinner at Joe Fish Restaurant or a local boma for braai.

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrates the rise and fall of Apartheid. The museum is a superb example of design, space and landscape, offering the international community a unique South African experience. A series of 22 individual exhibition areas takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells a story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny. The exhibits include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories that contribute to the saga of Apartheid.

Pilanesberg Safari

Pilanesberg National Park is set within the crater of an ancient volcano, formed 1.2 billion years ago by overflowing magma. It exists in a transition zone between the dryness of the Kalahari and the wet vegetation of the Lowveld region. This rich transitional zone attracts an incredible variety of game animals, flora and fauna that are not often found living side by side. Virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa can be found here, including the “big five,” wild dog, Roan, Tsessebe, Sable antelope and more than three hundred and sixty species of bird.

AWOL Bicycle Tour

This international, award-winning, socially responsible bicycle tour in Masiphumelele, Kommetjie is a new take on township tours, providing guests the opportunity to meet and interact with the local community from a bicycle seat. A qualified local guide will escort guests around the township, visiting interesting places and explaining Xhosa customs. The tour includes lunch at a local township restaurant that serves delicious authentic African food.

Boulders Beach

Step through the entryway to this beach and find yourself face to face with one of Africa’s quirkier inhabitants: penguins. A colony of African penguins resides on Boulders Beach, a stretch of sand dominated by giant seaside rocks and penguin nests.

Bo-Kaap Walking Tour

This tour winds its through jewel-toned houses and mosques, providing commentary on the history and tradition behind the iconic architecture of the Bo-Kaap district. As you follow your guide through this segment of Cape Town, we invite you to explore a side of South African history defined by cultural fusion and crossover. Watch tradition unfold into a modern landscape of vibrancy as East meets West at the southern point of Africa.

Soweto Tour

A Soweto day tour takes in the highlights of this iconic township including Nelson Mandela’s former home and the Hector Pieterson museum. You will get close to Soweto Culture, meeting the people, trying local foods and maybe even some Omqombothi (traditional beer) at a shebeen. This tour is one of a kind, taking you through the smell of pavement cooked meals and the buzz in the streets of people going about their daily chores. Come and experience the humanity, hospitality, and warmth of township life humanity - the "ubuntu" of South Africa

Abseiling Table Mountain

Abseiling is one of the best ways to explore the rocky crags of Table Mountain. This thrilling activity includes a relatively technical hike, so a moderate fitness level is required to experience this adventure!

Table Mountain

Find out why Table Mountain is one of the seven natural wonders of the world as you climb to the top. The mountain stretches gloriously on the Cape Town horizon, rising effortlessly from the lights and bustle of the city. As you ascend, the rugged terrain becomes a world in and of itself, age-old rocks, grasses, and shrubs covering the mountainside. The top of Table Mountain provides astounding views of the city on one side and the sea on the other, with rolling clouds over rocky peaks. A cable car provides a scenic descent, suspended gracefully over jagged rock and the famous flora of the mountain.

Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center

This center provides a sanctuary for many wild animals that are the victims of habitat loss, such as leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, and vultures. While Moholoholo is directly involved in research, breeding programs and rehabilitation, it also helps tribal communities and farms by adopting and relocating 'problem animals’ that would otherwise be poisoned or injured. The aim of this rehabilitation facility is to promote awareness about environmental upheaval and to support endangered wildlife.

Class in the Clouds

Did you know that Table Mountain is believed to have more plant diversity than the British Isles put together? Class in the Clouds gives learners the chance to learn all about the amazing fauna and flora found in the Cape Floral Kingdom while enjoying the view from the top of Table Mountain.

Induna Adventures

Induna offers a wide variety of adrenaline-racing activities such as white water rafting, ziplining, and quad biking. Only twenty minutes away from Kruger National Park, Induna’s pristine location provides an unforgettable setting for adventure sports and outdoor team activities.

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