Thousands of Eastern Cape School children are learning about the significance of renewable energy and science through a programme sponsored by Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, one of the county’s largest wind farms. Launched in 2013, the purpose of the programme is to provide High School students with projects that will broaden their knowledge of science, with specific focus on renewable energy. “It is imperative to increase awareness and interest in the renewable energy industry and science amongst learners if our country is to develop the much needed skills in this area,” Mark Pickering, General Manger of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
The content is targeted at Grade 9 – 11 learners from the local schools and includes educational activities that illustrate the need for renewable energy projects within South Africa, using a comprehensible approach and simple language.
The specific objectives of the programme include; education and awareness around wind energy; encouraging an interest in the sciences and renewable energy career fields; exposing learners to scientific experimentation and understanding broader renewable energy sources; and educating learners about climate change and its implications for South Africa.
As part of the school’s programme, an essay competition was initiated, aimed at increasing awareness of the industry and the benefits of renewable energy. The essay content looked at the highlights and the benefits of renewable energy within South Africa. “Assessments and marking of the essays focused on the content and relevance to the topic and general understanding of the renewable energy concepts as well as the importance to our country, in addition to the level of research conducted to be able to discuss the issues,” explained Pickering.
Learners won cash prizes and each entrant received a book voucher. The lucky winners also got to be some of the first visitors to the wind farm, making the content and learning experience tangible – and a great deal of fun.
Participating schools, all of which participated in the essay competition, include: