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After a very successful workshop held in Pretoria on 17 Jan 2018, and subsequent meetings, the SAWEP program is moving ahead with identifying training and skills needs in wind energy, with a few interventions being shortlisted as possible program beneficiaries, namely:

  • Technical training and support to semi-skilled and locally located beneficiaries, especially in the context of Bid Window Round 4 (BWR4)
  • SED: Support for living costs and internship support
  • ED: Supplier development and SMME support in BWR4 communities
  • And Support and training for Trusts / Trustees

The final report to the program is due in March of 2018, and we look forward to rolling out this program in partnership with SANEDI, the Department of Energy and the UNDP.


Its been a wonderful 4 days in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia conducting a “Careers Workshop” for the very first cohort of graduates from the Pan African University – Institute of Water and Energy Sciences.

The 17 students that attended are the best and brightest in Africa, from Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Algeria, Tunisia and Ethiopia. Caroline Sawe from the AltGen Kenya office and Sean Gibson, MD of AltGen, spent the time coaching the students on getting themselves out into the world of water and energy, and also on how to “Make your own job”: all too often we rely on others for our own successes, a paradigm that needs to be turned on its head as we become masters of our own destiny.

Thank you to GIZ for sponsoring, its been awesome!


It has been a busy few weeks at AltGen. Firstly, SARETEC hosted the Wind Energy Technical Symposium, with excellent presentations on the state of the wind industry in South Africa, some with a more technical inclination. And then the premier annual wind energy event, WINDABA, was once again a great success. Perhaps more intimate this year than in previous years, it did feel like those who were really interested, were there.

What are the takeaways? Well, that Eskom is in real trouble…. The utility is on a one-way path to self-destruction, and this is not necessarily a good thing. As some senior industry commentators have said, lets rather go for the “gentle path” scenario rather than “crash landing”, since we can’t even be sure if the IPPs will get paid if Eskom defaults.

And the other big question, being will Bid Window Round 4 happen, well this is open ended. To me, it all feels a little too cosy. How is it that SAREC can be meekly saying “thank you for the assurances Mr Minister of Energy” when he is the 3rd energy minister this year, and is so pro nuclear he glows in the dark… PV will prevail, blockchain is on us.

According to Green Tech Media, Cape Town based “The Sun Exchange” recently raised US $ 1.6 million in seed funding to expand its solar investment platform, and they are one of a plethora of start-ups busy democratising the energy space. And cheap storage is a hop, skip and jump away.

It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when and how, Eskom will evolve into a generator, the ISMO will magically reappear, and every second roof will have PV panels.

Sean Gibson

Managing Director



The Pan African University (PAU) is a African Union initiative to breathe life into African higher education, to counter brain drain and improve the employability of African graduates. While the PAU is based in Addis Ababa, the PAU Institute for Energy and Water Sciences (PAUWES) is located at the Abou Bakr Belkaid University of Tlemcen in Algeria, and in September of 2016 the first tranche of 26 graduated from in Water and Energy Engineering.

AltGen has been retained to assist PAUWES to assist these graduates with their job search in the water and energy markets in Africa. With graduates from all over the continent, including Egypt, Benin, Kenya and others, we will be reaching deeply into the water and energy markets, empowering the students to be able to market themselves to prospective employers.

The skills are there, now we need to leverage these skills to the broader benefit of Africa.


Nontsasa Gaga, one of the very few females training as a Wind Turbine Service Technician (WTST) in South Africa, is having her stipend sponsored by AltGen while she spends time on site for the internship as part of the course. AltGen is extremely proud to be actively reshaping the narrative of a male dominated part of the industry. Nontsasa’s turbine techncian course was the first time that the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre, SARETEC, saw a larger intake of females enrolled –  54% women. Could this be the start of women in South Africa choosing more hands-on career paths?

Although Nontsasa struggled to secure a place to complete her internship, Vestas agreed to collaborate and make this possible and she is now based on Grassridge Wind Farm. Nontsasa says that she is extremely happy to have had the opportunity to train as a WTST and does not feel out of her depth, and we at AltGen are very proud to be a part of her journey.

“Coming from the Navy, there are some similarities in the working environment, I worked in a submarine and therefore had to get used to working in very confined spaces and extreme conditions.  I spent time literally under the water, and now I am approximately 100m in the air on a wind turbine daily”