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South African Elected To Board Of International Solar Energy Society

Mechanical and mechatronic engineering specialist, Professor Wikus van Niekerk of Stellenbosch University, has been elected as the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa’s (SESSA) representative on the board of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).

The largest, oldest and most comprehensive technical body dealing with the technology and implementation of renewable energy, ISES was founded in 1954 and has representation in more than 100 countries.

Making the announcement, SESSA chairman, Henning Holm, applauded Professor van Niekerk’s keen interest in harvesting the energy from the sun, wind and ocean and praised the work he had done in that field over the years.

“Currently the Director of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies in Stellenbosch, Professor van Niekerk holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and is a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South African, a fellow of the South African Institution for Mechanical Engineering and the Southern African Acoustics Institute, and a member of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society for Automotive Engineering.

“With more than 14 articles in refereed international journals and numerous podium appearances at both local and international conferences, he is also an energetic and active member of SESSA, as well as his academic community.

“We are certain he will add tremendous value to numerous ISES initiatives, and assure him of the full support of the SESSA council and its solar office during his tenure,” said Holm.

He added that Van Niekerk takes over the seat vacated by Professor Dieter Holm, who has been actively working with ISES since 1974, in the latter years as SESSA’s representative. Holm thanked him for all he did to profile Southern Africa’s needs and causes within the global energy community.

ISES is a United Nations-accredited non-Government organisation. Its goals include:

  • Encouraging the use of renewable energy everywhere, through appropriate technology, scientific excellence, social responsibility, and global communication.
  • Bringing together industries, individuals and institutions in support of renewable energy technologies - through communication, co-operation, support and exchange.
  • Applying practical projects, technology transfer, education, training and support to the issue of global energy development.
  • Stimulating and encouraging both fundamental and applied research in solar energy.
  • Ensuring individual and community growth through support of private enterprise and empowerment in the area of renewable energy.
  • Providing rapid access to information through tailor-made communication and exchange platforms utilising modern technology.

SESSA is dedicated to the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies including solar-based energies (such as photovoltaics, thermal heating and cooling), wind, bioenergy and hydro. Founded in 1974, its objectives include:

  • Promoting and increasing the use of renewable and energy efficient technologies with informal education, demonstration and information dissemination to end-users and decision makers of all levels;
  • Establishing the society as the main regional information centre in close co-operation with similar initiatives
  • Facilitating the creation and maintenance of appropriate standards for products, systems, methods and training
  • Supporting initiatives that promote the creation of local ‘green-collar’ jobs and highlight green enterprise opportunities;
  • Lobbying government, big business, civil society and parastatal organisations towards adopting a low carbon energy future.

The Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University was established in 2006 to coordinate the postgraduate programme in renewable and sustainable energy studies and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology.