“There’s no doubt that renewable energy as well as smart technology are changing the way power and water utilities operate and deal with their customers. The industry is constantly challenged and presented with new opportunities and it is therefore vital for power and water professionals to share knowledge and collaborate on a regional basis.” This is according to Evan Schiff, who heads up the 16th African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and trade exhibition that returns to Cape Town from 17-19 May 2016 – gathering some 6000 engineers, stakeholders and solution providers from around the globe. The event will feature 250 exhibitors, 250 speakers, a six stream strategic conference, free-to-attend technical conference on the expo floor, three high-profile keynote sessions, technical site visits and the coveted industry awards gala dinner.
Evan adds: “We are very proud of our African Utility Week Advisory Board which comprises senior decision makers from utilities, large power users, IPPs, consultants and contractors from across the continent. They take a very active role in making sure our programme addresses the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors: ranging from generation, T&D, metering, clean energy, finance, reliability, water supply or energy efficiency. We will once again showcase many success stories in clean energy; look at bankable power projects and energy storage will be discussed as a possible game changer for energy independence. We also have a strong focus on water for 2016, including the water-energy nexus, water efficiency and wastewater management.”
Dr Lawrence Musaba, Co-ordination Centre Manager, Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) in Zimbabwe is already confirmed as a high-level keynote speaker at this leading annual industry meeting. He says current challenges facing the energy sector include “low tariffs making it difficult to invest, power shortages leading to load shedding, poor maintenance of the electricity infrastructure and poor governance and management.” He says “moving towards cost-reflective tariffs would be advantageous while attracting the private sector would provide the much needed investment capital.” He adds that utilities “should be operated as commercial entities”.
Dr Musaba was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 African Utility Week Industry Awards. Next year, the third edition of the prestigious African Utility Week Industry Awards will again celebrate the triumphs and successes of Africa’s leading power and water projects and people in twelve awards categories, including Water Utility Executive of the Year, Clean Energy Project of the Year and Outstanding Woman in Power.
CEO Forum: important platform
During African Utility Week, the Power Utility CEO Forum gathers C-level executives from Africa's leading utilities together to discuss pressing topics within the industry and to accelerate cross-border collaboration across Africa. Utility executives from countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Namibia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are expected to return. For 2016, a new Water Utility CEO Forum will run in conjunction with the Power Utility CEO Forum.
Ayanda Nakedi, Executive Director: Renewables, Eskom in South Africa describes the CEO Forum as “an important platform where African utilities could share the challenges and learnings which are critical for survival in a dynamic changing environment. We still have a challenge of electrifying our dark continent and take advantage of our abundant resources. Africa is full of opportunities.”
Eskom is again the host utility for the event while the Department of Energy is the host ministry. Other event partners are the South African Independent Power Producers Association and the South African Electrotechnical Export Council.
Leading global suppliers of technology and services to the sector have already signed up as high-profile partners at African Utility Week, including Accenture, Edison Power Group, KPMG, Landis+Gyr, Rubbytad and Shell, who are all platinum sponsors.
The African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa trade exhibition will be free when registering in advance and showcase energy saving technologies and services for the industry and feature hands-on demonstrations and CPD-accredited technical workshops on the exhibition floor.
African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Other flagship events in Spintelligent’s power portfolio are East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC), West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC), iPAD Rwanda Power & Mining Investment Forum and iPAD Cameroon Energy & Infrastructure Forum.