The Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference will focus on innovation, investment, and women and youth participation in energy as it welcomes 40 African countries for its twenty-second edition this year.
Global events company and event organiser Terrapinn MD Gina Bester says it is looking forward to a great event and the aim is to bring energy innovation and solutions for the people to the fore as well as welcoming 8 000 attendees this year.
She points out that Terrapinn has included new developments, such as blockchain and Big Data to the conference focus as utilities across Africa are looking at these technologies and more, to ensure efficient and secure operations and supply. Topics such as battery innovation, clean generation and the growth of solar in terms of electricity generation on the continent will also feature at the event.
Terrapinn senior business development manager Sashnee Govender highlights that, “there is a massive untapped opportunity in Africa and that is the message we are highlighting to the global community”.
Bester adds that delivering a prime business opportunity for the industry every year, where Terrapinn can put its clients in touch with the right buyers through access to the right business opportunities or contacts, is the greatest achievement for the company.
“It is about energy for the people. And whether we can achieve that transfer of knowledge, skills and access to new project availability.”
Women and Youth
Terrapinn, with event partner African Women in Energy and Power (AWEap) – which has been a key player in putting the conference in place – will put women and youth in the spotlight.
Firstly, a women-in-energy seminar will highlight the opportunities available for women in the energy industry.
“You can expect an overview of the role of women in energy; how they are having more of an impact on the industry and more inclusive approaches towards growth to enable them to access those opportunities and grow their own businesses,” says Bester.
The seminar will also touch on the areas where women have innovations in energy and how they can take them to market. Women from different utilities will deliver case studies about the way in which they have been able to make an impact on the industry.
Secondly, the Gen-X programme focuses on youth innovation in energy and is a new addition to the exhibition floor. It will feature the top 15 youth innovations that have been submitted, with the relevant speakers presenting their innovations on the exhibition floor.
“It has helped the show to focus on areas that need airtime – which are youth, women, future technology and skills development – and they are on the floor. There are technologies that are available to us, but are not yet being used with the imagination that is needed to solve our energy challenges. Now more than ever, smaller players in the industry are coming up with those innovative ideas,” says Bester.
Thirdly, the startup pavilion will feature about thirty different startup companies from across the energy spectrum. “These startups apply to us for space on the exhibition floor and it is free of charge. It really is about giving African energy innovation a platform to be exposed and marketed,” she adds.
State of Power and Electricity
Govender states that businesses need to position themselves correctly so that governments can get a real sense of what they offer especially those with innovative solutions that become cost-effective and enable utilities to run more efficiently, along with technologies that can ensure consistent supply and pre-emptive maintenance.
Bester says international clients who want to enter the energy market should localise a portion of their business and market their offerings to countries that are focusing on electricity.
PEWA is the largest and longest running power and electricity conference and exhibition in Africa and will be held from March 26 to 27.