Enlit Africa returns to Cape Town as a live conference and exhibition from June 7 to 9 this year, focusing on the current opportunities and challenges in the energy sector – from self-generation for municipalities and gas exploitation to renewable and energy storage solutions for the commercial and industrial sectors.
Formerly known across the continent as African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa, Enlit Africa has been connecting the utility industry on the continent for more than two decades.
“People in the industry are eager to get together, to engage; from utilities and municipalities to independent power producers, project developers and technology and service providers,” says Enlit Africa head of content Claire Volkwyn.
“Further, there are some really exciting things happening in the sector right now, so we look forward to bringing the role players together under the same roof again to discuss their challenges and celebrate their successes,” she adds.
Municipal Energy Independence to Gas
Several sessions at Enlit Africa will focus on the broader theme of the energy transition on the continent, including recent changes in the South African municipal energy landscape, and climate change and investment in the sector. The event will bring together municipal leaders and utility CEOs to unpack the energy mix needed for Africa to achieve net zero in carbon emissions.
“Before the Covid 19 pandemic, we had 600-million people on the continent with no access to electricity; that number has increased since the pandemic as many people have lost their jobs, cannot afford to buy electricity and many have gone back to traditional forms of cooking using fossil fuels as an energy source,” Volkwyn explains.
She adds that, if electrification is to continue, we have to make sure that energy prices are realistic. It is important to realise that the energy transition for Africa cannot follow a similar trajectory to that of Europe. “We have to follow our own path in order for it to fit with our circumstances.”
The role of renewables and energy storage in the transition is also an important feature on the programme. Enlit Africa and the South African Energy Storage Association (SAESA) recently announced a unique partnership to launch Africa’s first platform for Integrated Storage and Alternative Power Solutions in June, which will look at both renewable and energy storage solutions in a holistic manner, offering real-world solutions.
“The developments in energy storage will make a massive difference to the efforts to achieve net zero in carbon emissions over the next period,” says SAESA board member and spokesperson Jo Dean.
The SAESA platform will take a technology-agnostic approach for real-world solutions aimed at the private sector, municipalities and energy-intensive power users looking for practical, implementable and financially viable alternatives. “Energy storage is the catalyst for new power generation technologies to mature, and this platform will unpack some of the mystery and technical complexities,” says Volkwyn.
The potential of gas on the continent remains an exciting prospect with several sessions dedicated to this topic, including South Africa’s Gas Utilisation Master Plan and the future of gas in Africa. Biogas in Africa features case studies that focus on preparing markets in emerging countries for the uptake of sustainable biogas technologies and projects.
The Enlit Africa conference and exhibition made a remarkable and successful transition to digital over the last two years, staying in the touch with the entire power and energy landscape. The four fully-fledged online events and dozens of specialists webinars were attended by more than 5 000 power professionals from more than 70 countries.
“The engagement with and amongst the power and energy industry never stopped and we never forgot that it is about the people who make it happen and the enormous inspiration and cooperation that takes place when they meet, discuss, share and learn from each other,” says Volkwyn.