In line with significant changes in the power and energy landscapes in Africa, this year’s African Utility Week (AUW) conference and expo will focus on the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors.
“The availability of private investment for power and energy projects, the fast development of energy storage, renewable energy becoming cheaper, gas that is an increasingly attractive mode of power generation in Africa, and that, in the next ten years, nuclear will become an increasingly important mode of baseload power generation are all issues that will be tackled during the conference,” says AUW event director Evan Schiff.
Now in its seventeenth year, the AUW conference will see over 7 000 decision-makers from more than 40 countries gathering to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions, the event also boasts a seven-track conference with over 300 expert speakers, he notes.
The conference programme will range from issues around power generation, metering, technology and water. These will include two exclusive plenary keynote sessions featuring sought-after international speakers.
“We are known for consistently gathering a group of elite, real world doers who share their expertise from grid to socket, best practices for effective power and water supply. Once again, we will not disappoint,” promises Evans.
AUW has already confirmed leading global advisory firm KPMG as its exclusive diamond sponsor. KPMG power and utilities head Ahmed Jaffer says that KPMG’s commitment to create agile utilities in the energy sector across sub-Saharan Africa has motivated the firm to take this diamond sponsorship opportunity at the AUW.
“AUW is a great platform that attracts key decision-makers within the sector,” he says.
Further, this will be supplemented by long-running supporters and industry stalwarts electrical power company EPG and metering solutions provider Landis+Gyr as platinum sponsors, while metering solutions provider Conlog, integrated provider Poweroad, mobile communications company Vodacom and comprehensive solutions provider Sensus will once again serve as gold sponsors.
The expo element of AUW will offer extensive technical programme sessions that are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited, free to attend, hands-on presentations that will take place on the exhibition floor. Here practical, day-to-day technical topics, best practices and product solutions that businesses, large power users and utilities can implement in their daily operations will be discussed.
AUW will this year see the debut of Energy Revolution Africa, a new platform for community-scale projects. Schiff explains that one of the strong trends in the sector is that the energy consumer is becoming more aware of their environment and how their power is generated and distributed, whether they are a residential home, a mine, a village, a shopping centre or manufacturing plant.
“Cleaner, more affordable energy generating options will increasingly become the norm rather than the exception. All these factors will mean that the utility as we know it will not look the same within ten years . . . change will happen,” he says.
Schiff adds that the Energy Revolution Africa platform will provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with the new energy purchasers such as metros and municipalities, 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.”
In conjunction with AUW, other events and platforms will run alongside it. The African Power Finance & Investment Forum will allow financiers and project owners to 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.
In addition, a featured session on regional power integration will explore new methods of developing cross-border power projects on a public–private partnership basis, explore the opportunities for investors, and show how regional power integration can substantially save capital investment costs.
The Gas-to-Power World Congress will reflect on the continuing transformation of the energy ecosystem in Africa and beyond. Gas and renewables are posited as the “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 and energy infrastructure.
The Utility CEO Forum will be held as a three-day invitation-only board meeting alongside AUW, where those involved in leading and guiding Africa’s power and water sectors will discuss the path of transformation. Discussions will centre on areas of cooperation, development plans and the advancement of regional centres of excellence throughout Africa.
The Nuclear Power Africa Conference will feature 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 AUW Power Industry Awards will bring together 800 of Africa’s most renowned power and water industry professionals to recognise, reward and celebrate the successes of Africa’s power and water sectors during 2016/17.