Your faith in the future of our planet can only grow after meeting these two freshly educated engineers: Janic Martin and Zharea Henkerman.
It’s fair to say their fates were sealed during childhood. Janic, as a young boy, said that he planned on changing the world for the better. Zharea, around 9 or 10, was fascinated by the idea of harnessing the power of the sun to boil her kettle.
It’s no coincidence that both ended up working with renewable energy.
Today, Janic and Zharea are part of the Release by Scatec Graduate Program – fulfilling their fates to harness the power of the sun to help change the world.
Zharea remembers a module during her studies called “environmental engineering”. She says it was here she was truly introduced to what she calls the “horrors of climate change and global warming”. This, coupled with the ongoing energy crisis in her home country of South Africa, put her on the path of renewable energy, leading her to Release.
Today, Zharea works with the origination of power projects for private offtakers. She speaks with potential customers, such as mining operations, and says that she loves to see how shocked they are when they see how quick and easy the transition to renewables can be with Release’s flexible and redeployable solution.
“The normal route to renewable power can take years, and once signed, you are locked in for 20 years or more,” she says.
“This doesn’t work for everyone, such as mines, who don’t have that kind of long-term time perspective. But these mines still need a cleaner and more affordable source of energy so they can move away from costly diesel. That’s where we come in.”
Janic says that his journey into Release and the world of renewable energy was inspired, in part, by his father. His father is from a small farming village, even smaller than the one where Janic grew up. He remembers visiting this village around age 11, and his father told stories about fetching water from the river and collecting wood for cooking over the fire.
Janic returned to his father’s village a few years ago. He was disheartened to see that the signs of progress in other parts of South Africa were absent in this corner of the world, and it’s something that Janic aimed to change. And to spark real change, he knew that electricity would be crucial.
Today Janic is a graduate engineer working to design the second phase of the Release by Scatec renewable power plant. It’s a unique task in that Release isn’t like any other plant. It’s modular, redeployable and completely flexible – meaning it can be delivered anywhere, for however long it’s needed and scaled as demand rises. Perhaps even to his father’s village one day.
“I’ve always believed in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” he says.
“This started when I was a kid and I tried to pitch the idea of a perpetual battery to my science teacher. Today I’m doing this for real by finding ways to bring power to parts of the world where it’s always been out of reach.”
On the verge of growth
These graduates describe life in Release as having a start-up feel, which gives them a chance to do just about anything and everything in the company. They expect their future (and that of Release) to be full of growth and opportunity. It’s just a matter of helping countries, utilities and industries such as mining understand the potential of a rentable solar and energy storage power plant.
“I expect to see growth and scale in Release’s future,” describes Zharea. “Today we’re known for being a part of Scatec. But one day, our name will be known for all that’s unique about us.”