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June 15, 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the first Global Wind Day, celebrating the potential of wind power. This year, South African companies joined the hundreds of events held all over the globe to mark the impact of wind energy across the world.

Sa celebrates global wind dayAccording to South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) CEO Brenda Martin, South Africa has become the largest wind power producer on the continent, generating 1.4 GW of electricity from 600 wind turbines. “Our industry can be proud, not only of the clean, green, renewable power that we are putting into the national grid, but for what we are contributing to communities across rural South Africa,” she says.

This year’s festivities saw 18 young learners graduating from the internationally recognised Wind Turbine Service Technician programme. Following seven months of intense training, the wind turbine service technicians will be able to service, maintain and repair wind turbines. They will also be able to inspect, diagnose, maintain and adjust wind turbines, managing electrical and mechanical wind turbine operations.

The Wind Turbine Service Technician programme is South Africa’s first formal qualification in the wind sector. The programme accepts students with a minimum of an NQF Level 4 qualification. The training was conducted in conjunction with the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) in Cape Town, which is funded by the National Department of Higher Education. The organisation has directly and indirectly trained nearly 100 wind turbine service technicians.

Fifteen of the students were supported by Nordex Group South Africa, which is involved in five major wind farms in the Eastern and Western Cape. These include the Dorper, Kouga, Amakhala Emoyeni, Gouda and Gibson Bay wind farms.

“We are delighted to see the hard work of these students pay off. To witness their skills development on the job at one of our five wind projects and now through Saretec is very pleasing. It shows what is possible in an industry that is focused on sustainable job creation,” Anne Henschel, MD of the Nordex Group in South Africa, says.

“Achieving this qualification is a dream come true for me and sets me on my path to make a difference in the wind energy industry. It was rewarding to celebrate all my hard work on Global Wind Day,” Mvuzo Nkonyeni, one of the Wind Turbine Service Technician programme students, concludes.

Image credit: Copyright: mikkolem / 123RF Stock Photo

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