The award-winning African Utility Week, taking place from 16-18 May 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 7 000 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 $835bn of capital investment, $490bn for generation capacity and $345bn 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.”
Alongside the longrunning African Utility Week, a new platform for community scale projects, Energy Revolution Africa, will be launched in May this year. 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.
Real world doers share their expertise
The 17th annual African Utility Week is the leading conference and trade exhibition for African power, energy and water professionals who will have the opportunity to meet over 300 suppliers of services and technology to the industry. The expo includes a record number of country pavilions, including from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, China, Czech Republic, Taiwan and India. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions the event also boasts a five track conference with over 300 expert speakers.
The conference programme will once again address the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors: ranging from generation, T&D, metering, technology and water. The African Utility Week expo offers an extensive technical workshop programme that are CPD accredited, free to attend, hands-on presentations that take place in defined spaces on the exhibition floor.
They discuss practical, dayto-day technical topics, best practices and product solutions that businesses, large power users and utilities can implement in their daily operations. More side events as part of the African Utility Week platform include:
• African Utility Week Power Industry Awards • African Power Finance & Investment Forum
• The Gas-to-Power World Congress
• The Utility CEO Forum
• The African Power Elite
• The Nuclear Power Africa Conference
• Africa Utilities Technology Council conference
• Site visits
• Power Africa – Women in Power Lunch
• West African Investment Breakfast Briefing
• The 5th Huawei Power Summit: the main theme for Huawei’s showcase this year is “Leading New ICT, The Road To Smart Grid” Industry support Apart from KPMG’s diamond sponsorship, industry stalwarts EPG, GE, Huawei, Landis+Gyr, Lucy Electric, Ontec and Shell are platinum sponsors while Aberdare Cables, Conlog, Oracle Utilities, SAP, SBS Tanks and Vodacom have already confirmed their gold sponsorships.