African Utility Week, taking place from May 16 to 18, in Cape Town, will showcase how the continent is creating innovative, home-grown solutions for its energy and water challenges, and how these are creating opportunities for utilities and industry suppliers.
The event will give voice to the latest trends in the industry, namely smaller, community- scale off-grid projects that are starting to make a real difference in the development of the continent.
“Utility-scale developments are decreasing, while we see a lot more of community-sized generation projects,” says KPMG chairperson and power and utilities Ahmed Jaffer. He adds that businesses and communities are displaying increasing interest in limiting their dependence on national grids. “In rural Africa, especially, the economics of expanding the national grids do not make sense, hence, a significant trend towards mini-grids and other off-grid solutions.”
Meanwhile, African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff highlights that Africa’s power and energy landscape is undergoing significant changes. Current trends impacting on power generation in Africa include the availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the pace of energy storage development, the decreasing price of renewable energy and the increasing attractiveness of gas as a mode of power generation, he explains.
“In the next 10 years, nuclear will become an increasingly important mode of baseload power generation,” Schiff asserts.
Investment, trade and development opportunities in the sub-Saharan Africa electricity sector are estimated at $835-billion of capital investment, $490-billion for generation capacity and $345-billion for infrastructure.
Experts from industry partners, such as the World Bank, KPMG, Power Africa, Huawei, General Electric, 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.
The seventeenth yearly African Utility Week is the leading conference and trade exhibition for African power, energy and water professionals who will have the opportunity to meet more than 300 industry services and technology suppliers.
The expo includes a record number of country pavilions, including those of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, China, the Czech Republic, Taiwan and India. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions, the event also boasts a five-track conference with more than 300 speakers.
The conference programme will address the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors, ranging from generation, transmission and distribution to metering, technology and water.