South Africa team

Mark Borchers, SEAMark Borchers has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering and a M.Sc degree in Energy and Development Studies from the University of Cape Town’s Engineering faculty. After working in the civil engineering industry, in 1988 he moved to the Energy for Development Research Centre (EDRC) at the University of Cape Town before co-founding the Energy & Development Group consultancy in 1993 and Sustainable Energy Africa in 2001. Mark’s work has been broad-ranging, from integrated energy planning for the South African government, impact assessment of electrification projects, promoting access to electricity in the SADC region, developing Botswana’s energy policy, promoting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable building, and economic analyses of low income household energy options. Over the past decade he has increasingly been involved in developing Energy and Climate Change Strategies for cities around South Africa and Africa, and supporting the implementation of such strategies. SEA has pioneered a city-based approach to transforming a country’s energy future.

Kim Coetzee, ERCDr Kim Coetzee is based at the Energy Research Centre where she is the post-doctoral fellow on this project. Broadly her area of interest is Global Environmental Governance; more specifically she is interested in the overlap between the trade and climate change regimes, low carbon development strategies, and the role of alternative ideational constructs in the governance of climate change. See Kim’s full profile


Jiska de Groot, ERC Dr Jiska de Groot joined the Energy Research Centre in 2015. Whilst at Plymouth University she was involved in several research projects into renewable energy deployment, in particular stakeholder engagement with marine renewable energy technologies. Besides her research on renewable energy development and stakeholder engagement, Jiska was involved with the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy, to contribute to representation of the social sciences in the advancement of the renewable energy sector, and has been involved in geography teaching in the UK. Her current research interests include the social science aspects of the deployment of renewable energy technologies, marine renewable energy, clean energy access, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. Stakeholder engagement, fairness and justice perspectives and decision-making processes. See Jiska’s full profile.

Yachika Reddy, SEAYachika Reddy has an MSc in Energy Studies from the University of Cape Town. She is currently employed at Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) as Project Manager of the SEED Programme and involved in a number of exciting projects which include: 1) supporting cities to build workable systems to facilitate the mass roll out of renewable energy and energy efficiency, 2) promoting the integration of an eco-systems approach in urban development processes and 3) identifying key elements of urban resilience in slum/informal urban communities and working to practically include these in city and national services delivery frameworks. During her 6 years of employment at SEA, Yachika has worked across a spectrum of projects focused on rooting sustainable energy approaches and practices in urban development planning and management processes across South Africa.

Louise Tait, ERC Louise Tait joined the Energy Research Centre in January 2012 as a Researcher in the Energy Poverty and Development group. Prior to working at the ERC, she worked for consultancies in both South Africa and the United Kingdom in the fields of economic development and environmental policy. Louise’s main research interests relate to the nexus of energy and development issues in South Africa and other developing countries. Her two main research interests are: extending basic energy access to poor households; and climate change and energy policy design and implementation at both national and urban scales. She is also currently pursuing a PhD investigating energy service delivery in informal settlements. See Louise’s full profile.

Harald Winkler, ERCProf. Harald Winkler is director of the Energy Research Centre. His research interests are focused around climate policy, at international and national level.  He led the research work underpinning South Africa’s Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS). His current work includes work with other developing countries to share the LTMS exprience in a programme called MAPS – Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (see He developed the proposal of sustainable development policies and measures (SD-PAMs). Research areas have included equity and future commitments to climate action; economics of climate change mitigation; energy scenarios for South Africa and Cape Town; the links between sustainable development and climate change; renewable energy and mitigation. See Harald’s full profile.

Peta Wolpe, SEAPeta Wolpe is a director of Sustainable Energy Africa. She has a BA degree in Sociology from the University of Essex and a Master of Science in Social Administration and Social Work Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Peta worked in the field of psychiatric social work in the United Kingdom for many years, working with adults suffering from a wide range of mental health problems. After her return to South Africa in 1996 she moved into the development sector and took a position at Community Development Resource Association (CDRA), an NGO working in the field of organisational development and training. She held leadership and management responsibilities which included strategic thinking and direction, financial management, fundraising and maintaining the organisation’s internal learning processes. She left CDRA to set up her own consultancy practice bringing together her therapeutic/social work skills and experience in leadership and management to work with NGOs in building their core leadership and management. She worked with a number of organisations in Southern Africa offering a range of services including an evaluation, mentoring individuals, organisational reviews, strategic planning, and administrative and leadership team processes.