African Utility Week (www.African-Utility-Week.com), taking place from 16 to 18 May 2017 in Cape Town, will showcase how the continent is coming up with innovative, home-grown solutions to its energy and water challenges and how these are creating exciting and lucrative opportunities for utilities and industry suppliers alike.
Experts from respected partners in the industry such as the World Bank, KPMG, Power Africa, Huawei, GE, Shell, SAP and leading African utilities will head up the more than 7000 power and water professionals from more than 80 countries, including 30 African nations, who will gather for African Utility Week.
But this year also kick-starts a specific focus on a new trend in the industry: namely smaller, community scale off-grid projects that are starting to make a real difference in the development of the continent.
Cleaner, more affordable energy generation options
“The power and energy landscape in Africa is undergoing significant change” says Evan Schiff, African Utility Week event director, adding that current trends include “the availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the fast development of energy storage, renewable energy is becoming cheaper, gas that is an increasingly attractive mode of power generation in Africa, and that in the next 10 years, nuclear will become an increasingly important mode of base-load power generation.”
The investment, trade and development opportunities in the sub-Saharan African electricity sector are estimated at $835 billion of capital investment, $490 billion for generation capacity and $345 billion for infrastructure.
Community scale projects are another important emerging trend in the sector. “Utility-scale developments are decreasing,” says Ahmed Jaffer, Chairman of KPMG in South Africa and the Head of Power and Utilities, “while we see a lot more of community-sized generation projects. Businesses and communities are also showing interest in becoming less dependent on the national grids. In rural Africa, especially, the economics of expanding the national grids do not make sense; hence there is a significant trend towards mini-grids and other off-grid solutions.”
Speaker highlights at African Utility Week include:
- Lionel Zinsou, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, member of the West African Energy Leaders Group and investment banker.
- Matshela Koko, Acting CEO, Eskom, South Africa.
- Lazarus Angbazo, President and CEO of GE Energy Connections SSA.
- James Stewart, Global Head of Major Projects (Power and Utilities), KPMG.
- Bob Lockhart, Vice President of Cyber Security of the Utilities Technology Council.
- Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director for Africa, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USA.
- Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- Lucio Monari, Sector Manager for Africa Energy Group, World Bank.