Conference and exhibition African Utility Week (AUW), which will be held in Cape Town from May 16 to 18, 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 companies such as international financial institution the World Bank, tax and advisory services company KPMG, economic growth initiative Power Africa, multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company Huawei, multi- national conglomerate corporation GE, oil company Shell, multinational software corporation SAP and other leading African utilities will gather at the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the event.
However, 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. The availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the fast development of energy storage, renewable energy becoming cheaper, gas increasingly being seen as an attractive mode of power generation in Africa, and, in the next ten years, nuclear becoming an increasingly important mode of baseload power generation are testament to this,” says AUW event director Evan Schiff.
The investment, trade and development opportunities in the sub-Saharan African electricity sector are estimated to be at $835-billion in terms of capital investment, $490-billion for generation capacity and $345-billion for infrastructure.
“The important emerging trend in the sector of community-scale projects can be seen in utility-scale developments decreasing, 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” says KPMG South Africa chairperson and power and utilities head Ahmed Jaffer.
Alongside the long-running AUW, a new platform for community-scale projects, Energy Revolution Africa, will be launched this year.
Energy Revolution Africa will provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with new energy purchasers such as metro- politan and district munici- palities, independent power producers (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 tech- nology, energy efficiency, micro/off-grid and energy storage will be showcased.
More Side Events
The seventeenth annual AUW will being together over 7 000 decision-makers from more than 80 countries to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers.
Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions, the event also boasts a five-track conference with over 300 experts addressing audiences.
The conference programme will once again address the latest challenges, develop- ments and opportunities in the power and water sectors, ranging from generation, transmission and distribution to metering, technology and water.
These include two exclusive plenary keynote sessions featuring the most sought-after international speakers.
Already, leading global advisory firm KPMG has confirmed that it is returning to AUW, this time as its exclusive diamond sponsor.
Other industry stalwarts such as strategy consulting firm EPG, telecommunications equipment company Huawei, electronics manufacturer Landis+Gyr, electrical engineering company Lucy Electric, computer support and services company Ontec and oil company Shell are platinum sponsors, while utility solutions company Conlog, computer technology corporation Oracle, software company SAP and mobile communications company Vodacom are gold sponsors once more.
The AUW expo offers extensive technical programme sessions that are continuing-professional- development-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 water utilities can implement in their daily operations.
The fourth edition of the AUW 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.