Home > Education > Current students > Our doctoral candidates

Our doctoral candidates

Anna Azarch

Dissertation Title: in progress 
Supervisor: Andrew Marquard; Co-supervisor: Karen Smith (Politics Department) 

Anna Azarch has an MA in International Studies (Cum Laude) and an Honours in Political Science (Cum Laude) both from the University of Stellenbosch. Since graduating in 2010, Anna has been involved in the NGO and research sectors, particularly working on issues relating to the multilateral climate change regime and the poverty-environment nexus. She also has experience teaching undergraduate political science classes. Most of her research deals with issues of governance, the social and political aspects of climate change, development and global change. Theoretically, her research centres around international relations and periods of transition. Her recent focus is the politics of energy and the environment.

Jesse Burton

Dissertation Title: The evolution and dynamics of state-business relations in post-apartheid South Africa: implications for energy and climate change mitigation policy in the future. 
Supervisor: Andrew Marquard; Co-supervisor: Harald Winkler

Jesse holds a BA (Honours) in History (with distinction) from Rhodes University. She graduated from the ERC in 2011 with a Master of Science specialising in Energy Studies. Her Masters thesis examined the role of industrial policy in meeting climate change mitigation objectives in South Africa. Her research interests include energy and industrial policy, economic history, domestic and international coal markets, the mining and minerals sectors, and state-business relations in South Africa. She has been the postgraduate programme co-ordinator at the ERC since 2013, and also runs the Introduction to Energy Policy and Sustainable Energy Engineering course. If she had any spare time, she would like to go windsurfing more often.

For a list of Jesse's publications visit

Loveline Che

Dissertation Title: The adoption of Solar Energy Technologies and its Contribution to Poverty Alleviation in South Africa.
Supervisor: Britta Rennkamp

Loveline Che holds a Master of Commerce in Economics from the University of Cape Town. She comes from Bamenda, Cameroon. Loveline is married and has two small children.

Theo Covary

Dissertation Title: Tracing Historical Decisions: The Relationship between Municipal Electricity Distribution and National Electricity Conservation Objectives in South Africa.
Supervisor: Andrew Marquard

Theo holds a B Comm from the former Rand Afrikaans University and a MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (University of Pretoria).

Theo is the owner of Unlimited Energy, a research and strategy consultancy focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The company specialises in Government policy research and analysis. 

Richard Fyvie

Dissertation Title: Science and Engineering Skills Development Stimulated by Local Content Requirements in the South African Wind Energy Industry. 
Supervisor: Britta Rennkamp

Richard holds a BSc from the former University of Port Elizabeth, a BSC (Hons) from the former University of Natal and an MBA (cum laude) from the NMMU Business School. Richard is an Engineering Geologist by trade, but currently runs the Port Elizabeth office of multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm Jeffares & Green. He has been involved in infrastructure development in Africa and Europe for the past 14 years, but holds a keen interest in energy project development. He has been involved with wind projects in South Africa since 2009, and currently spearheads his firm’s engineering, scientific and project development consulting services to a variety of public and private clients within the SA REIPPP Programme. Richard enjoys growing chillies, herbs and bonsai; as well as brewing his own craft beer.

Alison Hughes

Dissertation Title: Meeting the energy needs of the rural poor sustainably. 
Supervisor: Gisela Prasad

Alison holds a MSc Degree in Engineering and a BIng in Mechanical Engineering. She has 10 years experience working for the Energy Research Centre. Alison’s research interests focus on energy planning and the modelling of medium and long term demand for energy and energy services across all sectors. The research investigates drivers and determinants of energy demand, and the impacts of policies and measures on energy demand. In addition to modelling and planning at the national, regional and local scale, she has also undertaken research to benchmark energy intensities in South Africa, provide sustainable energy alternatives for woodfuel use by the poor, and the monitoring and verification of Demand Side Management interventions. In her spare time Alison loves to hike.

Holle Linnea Wlokas

Dissertation Title: Implementing community development and clean electricity infrastructure: the evolution of institutional work in South Africa's renewable energy sector
Supervisor: Britta Rennkamp

Holle holds an MSc in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin and worked for the ERC as Research Officer from 2010 to 2014. She started her PhD in 2014 as a full-time student.Holle is a member of the solar and wind industry associations (SAPVIA and SAWEA) and their working groups on community development. In 2014, she received the SAWEA award for her academic contribution to the industry.

Her current research investigates the institutional work associated with community benefit commitments and schemes established under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP) in South Africa. Private renewable energy companies are engaged in her action research project, as well as governmental and civil society stakeholders. The research involves an analysis of the REIPPP's community benefit requirements, a review of submitted bid documents and field work in several wind and solar projects across the country. She shares emerging findings online on the EnergyBlog (, at industry and civil society events and through writings like the upcoming report for WWF.

Randall Spalding-Fecher

Dissertation Title: Impact of climate change and irrigation development in the Zambezi River Basin on hydropower supply, power trade and energy security in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
Supervisor: Harald Winkler

Randall has worked in the sustainable development and climate change policy fields for many years and is an independent consultant on methodological issues at the UNFCCC. He is currently Senior Advisor at Carbon & Energy, Carbon Limits AS, based in Cape Town. His specialties include Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodology and project development, energy economics, mitigation analysis, and energy efficiency analysis, training and capacity building in energy and climate change. He has a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University and a BA in Biology (magna cum laude) from Harvard University.

Emily Tyler

Dissertation Title: What are the implications of South Africa's development context for approaching low carbon policy in the country?
Supervisor: Brett Cohen

An economist by training, Emily has worked on the climate change mitigation challenge since 2001, first in Europe and subsequently in South Africa where her development interest and perspective continues to shape her thinking and career path.

Emily has predominantly worked as a consultant, to local and international civil society, the private sector, government and academia, both independently and in consulting firms and not-for-profit institutions. Her focus has spanned carbon footprinting, corporate strategies, the Clean Development Mechanism, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, Low Carbon Development Strategies, national government carbon pricing policies and low carbon transition planning, energy policy, carbon budgeting and most recently, engaging complex systems theory and interdisciplinarity to approach mitigation in a development context.