African Utility Week to Showcase Continent’s Business Openings

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By Dipo Olowookere

The award-winning African Utility Week, taking place from May 16-18, 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.

“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.”

Alongside the long-running African Utility Week, a new platform for community scale projects, Energy Revolution Africa, will be launched in May this year.

Energy Revolution Africa will provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with the new energy purchasers such as metros and municipalities, IPPs, rural electrification project developers and large power users, including mines, commercial property developers and industrial manufacturers. The latest innovations and projects in the sectors of renewables, future technology, energy efficiency, micro/off-grid and energy storage will be showcased.

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); and Lucio Monari, Sector Manager for Africa Energy Group, World Bank.

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, day-to-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 Power Finance & Investment Forum: Financiers and project owners will hear from expert speakers who will identify the key trends impacting project finance in regional energy markets with updates on and insights into market opportunities, sources of capital, financing instruments and access to project finance. A featured session on regional power integration will explore new methods of developing cross-border power projects on a PPP basis, explore the opportunities for investors, and show how regional power integration can substantially save capital investment costs.

The Gas-to-Power World Congress reflects the continuing transformation of the energy ecosystem in Africa and beyond. Gas and renewables are perfect partners to help address an array of future energy challenges, including climate change, energy security and energy finance, currently three of the world’s largest and most important challenges. The event will look at new business and investment opportunities in gas-to-power, energy infrastructure, FSRU, LPG and LNG.

The Utility CEO Forum is held as a 3-day by invitation only board meeting alongside African Utility Week, where the men and women who lead and guide Africa’s power and water sectors discuss the path of transformation. Discussions centre on areas of co-operation, development plans and the advancement of regional centres of excellence throughout Africa.

The Nuclear Power Africa Conference features expert speakers who will address the myths and realities, latest technologies, regulatory and financing challenges and the economic spin offs created by a nuclear new build programme. Nuclear stakeholders and prospective suppliers will gain first hand insights into prospects for new jobs, training programmes, and the business opportunities created by the localisation of the supply chain of a nuclear new build.

The fourth edition of the African Utility Week Power Industry Awards brings together 800 of Africa’s most renowned power and water industry professionals. The Power Industry Awards is the leading gathering to recognise, reward and celebrate the successes of Africa’s power and water sectors during 2016/17.

Africa Utilities Technology Council: Telecommunications/ICT conference track programme to be presented that will cover topics such as: IT/OT convergence, IP networks and utility telecoms network performance measures. The AUTC content will continue in three dedicated sessions – one each in the T&D, Metering and Water tracks of the main strategic conference.

Site visits – these capture practical insights and demonstrate real world case studies of innovative technology combined with a unique experience of South African hospitality. Locations include the Bokpoort CSP plant, Eskom Sterrekus substation, Biomimicry Genius of Space project in Langrug, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, Africa’s only nuclear power plant and a tour of Cape companies that are shining examples with regards to renewable energy and efficiency including HoHotel Verde, Black River Park and Cape Brewing Company.

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.

African Utility Week and Energy Revolution Africa is the flagship energy event organised by the multi-award winning Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and part of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Other well-known energy events by Spintelligent are Future Energy Nigeria (formerly known as WAPIC), Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Uganda and Future Energy Central Africa. Other industry-leading events organised by Spintelligent are DRC Mining Week, Kenya Mining Week, Nigeria Mining Week, Agritech Expo Zambia, Property Buyer Show, African Real Estate & Infrastructure Summit and Eduweek.

Earlier this year, Spintelligent won four major awards at the ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards, which honour excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent and were organised by the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO). African Utility Week won for Best Trade Exhibition 6001-12000 sqm category (joint winners with the World Travel Market).

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