On the 2nd of February 2011, approximately 30 people gathered in Room EM303 in the Engineering Faculty at UCT to hear Gaby Coppez, the first Doug Banks Scholar present on the progress she has made so far with her Master's thesis and share her plans for the year ahead.  Once everyone had sampled the refreshments and we'd managed to persuade the workers renovating the building to take an extended lunch break, Gaby was able to share her thoughts with us.

Through her thesis, entitled "Modeling and Simulation of Hybrid Renewable Energy Generation Systems for Rural Electrification" she hopes to contribute towards the use of RE in rural areas.  Focusing on the use of Solar and Wind energy and batteries as a storage mechanism, Gaby aims to create a software tool "where the load profile for an area can be input along with the climatic data in terms of solar irradiance and temperatures as well as average wind speeds for the area and the tool will calculate the sizes of wind and solar sources required as well as the size of the battery required."

To learn more about her methodology, the 5 research papers she has either authored or co-authored over the past year, as well as the 2 international conferences she was able to attend with support from DBREV, download her slides here.

It was good to see folk from UCT's ERC there, as well as friends and family of both Gaby and of Doug.  Jason Schaffler arranged a trip down from Joburg around the date and Sifiso Dlamini, GM of NuRa (the rural RE utility that Doug was instrumental in starting), flew down for the occasion.  The usual lively banter and debate between Maties and Ikeys was not absent.  It was especially gratifying to see Doug's parents Jane and Ian, who had traveled through from McGregor, chatting to Gaby's parents Rina & Bernard after the seminar had wound down.  

Those of us who wish to see the torch that Doug carried for RE move forward into areas of need are encouraged.  Now we need to build a resource that can sustain the work.

Dave Gale
February 2011