Brenda has worked at senior level in the Southern African development, education and energy policy sectors for over 15 years. In 2007 she initiated a national programme focused on climate-related behavior change. Her work there included the implementation of small scale renewable energy projects and lobbying for energy policy change. Since 2014 she has worked part-time at the Energy Research Centre (UCT). There and in her personal capacity she has conducted research on energy policy generally and renewable energy and nuclear power, in particular. She has served on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy (MACE) since its inception in February 2015. She has just completed an MPhil in Energy & Development (ERC, UCT, 2016). Her dissertation is on the politics of electricity planning in SA. Brenda has a strong track record as a trusted bridge builder across sectors, an effective fundraiser and a strategic thinker.
Gracia Munganga is currently working as the Senior Manager for the Climate Innovation Centre South Africa (CICSA) at The Innovation Hub Management Company (www.theinnovationhub.com ). With over 5 years of experience in the South African waste industry, Gracia has earned industry recognition from the both the biogas and waste management sectors. Gracia has spent most of her professional career with GreenCape and the Energy Research Centre at University in Cape Town which has given her a great understanding of the South African biogas market and its challenges and later worked for Anaergia Africa (www.anaergia.com ) which was involved in Africa’s largest municipal solid waste to energy plant in Cape Town (http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/ground-breaking-waste-to-energy-plant-opens-in-cape-town-2017-01-24 ). Gracia holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science (MSc and BSc) in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town.
Dr Janice Golding
Dr Golding is the South Africa Focal Point for Energy & Environment at the United Nations Development Programe (UNDP) Country Office, based in Pretoria. The South African Wind Energy Project is one of several which she and her team supervises on behalf of the Government of South Africa. Formerly, she worked at the Embassy of Switzerland (Swiss Economic Cooperation, SECO) as Programme Manager on Energy and Sustainable Development in South Africa. She is trained as a natural scientist, has published widely (including three books) and undertaken field work in twelve African countries. She obtained her Doctoral Degree in 2009 from the University of Oxford University in the United Kingdom where she was a Kew Scholar. She holds a Masters from UCT and has a postgraduate qualification in Human Rights at the Mandela Institute School of Law (Wits). She hails from the Cape Flats, Cape Town.
Dr Karen Surridge-Talbot
Dr Surridge-Talbot was awarded her PhD in 2007 and during 2007-2009 she was a postdoctoral Fellow of the Claude Leon Foundation. An academic career was paralleled by establishing a consulting company specialising in environmental analyses, environmental impact assessments (EIA’s), laboratory setup and establishment and consulting to, among others, large energy, environmental consulting and metal industries in South Africa. From November 2011 to present, Dr Surridge-Talbot was engaged as Centre Manager for the Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD) at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). This centre is mandated, through the government act (National Energy Act 2008, no. 34) that established SANEDI, to coordinate renewable energy research and development in South Africa. Finally, Dr Surridge-Talbot is also currently serving on the council of the South African Coal Ash Association (SACAA) an on that of the South African Solar Energy Association
Lauren Basson is GreenCape’s Manager: Technical and Knowledge. In this capacity she provides strategic and technical support to GreenCape’s energy, water, waste and agriculture programmes, and coordinates their knowledge generating activities. In addition, Lauren’s role is to broker links to knowledge and innovation institutions to support GreenCape activities and those of its member companies. Lauren holds a BSc and MSc degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining GreenCape in 2013, Lauren worked industry and academia in South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Noma is a Director responsible for Renewable Energy Initiatives at the Department of Energy. Her primary responsibility is to ensure the integration of renewable energy into the mainstream energy supply by planning and co-ordinating strategic interventions. She has been with the Department of Energy since July 2007. During this time, she has successfully worked in partnership with local and international stakeholders on promoting renewable energy. Key initiatives that she implemented include: the first phase of the GEF/UNDP South African Wind Energy Programme which supported the development of the wind energy sector in South Africa including the revival of the South African Wind Energy Association; the development of the Wind Atlas in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy and the South African Wind Energy Awareness Campaign which was made available on YouTube and translated into several South African official languages; the World Bank/Renewable Energy Market Transformation Programme which has played a pivotal role in supporting some of the Independent Power Producer projects that became preferred bidders under the REIPPPP; the promotion of biogas which started off with the first national biogas conference in 2013 hosted by the Department in collaboration with GIZ, DBSA, IDC and SABIA and resulted in the establishment of the National Biogas Platform which is still active. This platform brings together public sector, private sector, academia and research institutes to assist government in unlocking the potential of the biogas industry in South Africa. Noma, holds a Master of Philosophy (Energy Studies) from the University of Cape Town. Her passion is to expand access to energy services to the South African citizens and to offer the public, diverse energy supply options and information on which to base their daily energy decisions.
Reshmi Muringathuparambil has a background in architecture and energy efficiency and completed her Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University. The primary aim of her research was to build a typology of low cost buildings within townships in the City of Cape Town based on their energy profiles. Themes for her research included informal urban energy, township architecture, energy efficiency, sustainability in the built environment and the energy landscape in South Africa. Reshmi joined GreenCape in 2017 where she currently fulfils the role of an Energy Analyst. GreenCape is a Western Cape Government Special Purpose Vehicle that was created to support businesses operating within the green economy. As an Energy Analyst, she functions within two main projects. Firstly, through the writing of the next Market Intelligence Report for Energy Services which serves to provide an overview of the energy landscape this year, and to attract investment into the sector by showcasing all the market opportunities and potential barriers. Secondly, through the newly established Alternative Service Delivery Unit, which aims to co-ordinate off grid energy interventions in South Africa to enable reliable, affordable and safe energy access and drive sustainable development, poverty reduction and prosperity.
Cecilia Njenga, Head of the UN Environment Office in South Africa, is an Economist/Urban and Regional Planner with over twenty five years of progressive work experience in urban environmental management, policy development, analysis and implementation of which 20 years have been at the international level. During the last nineteen years, Cecilia been working with United Nations, leading regional and global programmes on sustainable development and promoting partnership building and inter-agency cooperation. She played a coordinating role for programmes such as the Urban Management Programme, Sustainable Cities Programme and the Lake Victoria City Development Strategies. In the last six years she has been tasked with establishing the strategic presence for UN Environment in the Southern Africa region. Her role has entailed political and policy analysis and assessing environmental trends in the Southern Africa region to generate knowledge, information and early warning for policy and decision making and incorporate them into policy and programme development. Cecilia has published widely in the area of urban development and more recently co-published a paper on the Environmental Dimensions Rural-Urban Linkages in South Africa for the South Africa Cities Network. During her free time, Cecilia is a lover of classical music, theatre and art.
Jesse Burton BA (Hons, History), MSc (Energy Studies) Jesse is a researcher in the Energy Systems, Economics, and Policy group at the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town. She holds an MSc in Energy Studies from UCT and her Masters’ thesis examined the role of industrial policy in meeting climate change mitigation objectives in South Africa. Since then her research has focused on the South African coal and electricity sectors. Some of her recent research has examined the political economy of decarbonisation, the politics of fossil fuel subsidies, the greenhouse gas implications of future coal investments, and the costs and risks of stranded assets in the South African energy sector. She is currently involved in research examining the political economy of the South African coal sector, fossil fuel finance, and developing transition pathways for South Africa’s coal sector in the context of climate change.
Karin Kritzinger holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and a master degree in philosophy (sustainable development) from Stellenbosch University. Her masters’ thesis explored the possibility of the insurance industry as a solar water heater driver in South Africa. Having originally trained as an accountant then farming for 16 years, she has a solid understanding of energy and resource flows. She has worked as an independent sustainable energy consultant and was the sector development manager of energy efficiency at the GreenCape Initiative until January 2013. She completed the Life Academy training programme in efficient energy use and planning in Sweden in 2013 and currently coordinates this programme in South Africa. In February 2013 she was appointed as a researcher at Stellenbosch University Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES). She currently holds the position of senior researcher CRSES. She manages the inter university programme in power system simulation (IUP – PSS) within the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI). Her research areas include energy policy and finance, energy modeling and local government.
Marlett Balmer holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies as well as an Honours degree in Energy Studies from the University of Johannesburg. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the renewable energy field as project manager, researcher, project implementer and fieldworker. Her work is mostly focused on the management and implementation of renewable energy projects in the South African and southern African context. She has worked as an independent consultant before joining the South African German Energy Programme (SAGEN), implemented by GIZ. In SAGEN, Marlett is responsible for capacity building and skills development, support to the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) as well as energy efficiency activities focused on solar water heating implementation. Marlett has published in accredited academic journals on issues of energy poverty, biomass energy conservation and community awareness raising and training around energy issues.
Ms Ntombifuthi Ntuli is a Board Member of the South African Wind Energy Association. She holds an MPhil Degree in Energy Studies (University of Johannesburg) and a Certificate in Economic and Development Policy (University of Witwatersrand). She is an Alumnus of the United States International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) as well as the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE).
Currently she works for the CSIR as a Research Group Leader: Energy Industry. Previously she worked for the Department of Trade and Industry as a Director: Green Industries, where she was responsible for facilitating the development of the local renewable energy industry. Before joining the DTI, she spent 3 years at the Embassy of Denmark working as a Coordinator for the Business to Business Programme, where she facilitated business linkages between Danish and South African companies. Prior to that she spent 7 years in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality working on Energy ad Climate Change programmes.
Sara Grobbelaar is employed as Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Stellenbosch University. She also has part-time appointments at the Department of Engineering and Technology Management at the University of Pretoria and is appointed as a research associate at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), Stellenbosch University. Sara is a seasoned consultant and through experience gained Monitor Group, Frost & Sullivan and independently, Sara has successfully completed in excess of 35 consulting engagements in the government, higher education, not-for-profit and private sectors (ICT, Energy and Power supply, Chemicals, Materials and Food, Pharmaceutical, Industrial, Mining, Tourism, Private Equity, Aviation and Automotive). In July 2011, Sara completed an MPhil in Technology Policy (with distinction) at the University of Cambridge. During her time in the UK, she was supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Cambridge Trusts. Sara furthermore holds a B.Eng (electronic) (with distinction) (UP), M.Eng (computer)(with distinction) (UP), PhD in (Engineering) (UP) and a Post Graduate Diploma in M&E methods (with distinction) (SU). Sara’s research interests and passions are to think about, research and develop plans for inclusive development through pro-poor value chains and inclusive innovation system for the African continent. Sara has a keen interest in research uptake and impact assessment, systems analysis, systems thinking, strategy, technology management and innovation.
Songo Didiza is the Executive Director at GreenBDG. Her career spans the field of Sustainable Economic development having assisted large multinationals on their business transformation strategies. Key project management experience includes servicing clients such as Anglo American, Barclays, Xstrata, and Sasol Limited. Her work in the green building sector includes several publications such as the Green Building Material Catalogue which provided an overview green building technologies in the SA building market. She is also avid entrepreneur have co-founded several social enterprises in the green economy and sustainability fields in South Africa. Her industry publications include authoring the 2016 Energy Services Market Intelligence Report which covers various energy contracting investment opportunities for the property sector in South Africa she compiled whilst at the GreenCape Sector Development Agency. She also contributes to several economic transformation initiatives within the South African property sector and currently serves as a Research Committee member of the Property Sector Charter Council (PSCC). She holds an Economic Science Degree from Wits University and a post graduate degree in Sustainable Development Planning and Management from Stellenbosch University.
Valerie works as the academic programme officer at the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) since 2015. She has been conceptualizing and organizing the academic WindAc Africa conference for the second time this year since its successful launch in 2016. WindAc Africa discussions cross geographical borders, envisioning a future for wind power that takes into account opportunities for innovation, covering the entire wind value chain and spanning technical, socio-economic, policy and environmental aspects, so that researchers can engage across academic disciplines. Valerie is passionate for identifying challenges and bringing people together for an effective and practicable solution implementation. She holds a master and a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. Valerie is married and has 3 children.