Africa missions identify top challenges in African power


POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa advisory board members and top executives have launched a series of African roadshows to consult power sector policymakers and industry leaders on the most pressing issues in African power provision today.

The missions to countries across sub-Saharan Africa are designed to support the development of a conference programme that adds meaningful value to pan-Africa's burgeoning power sector, and which brings together key players from across the continent to the event.

Nigel Blackaby, Director of Conferences at event organisersPennWell International Power Group, says some of the industry's finest minds from across the continent have contributed to the programme for POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa. "Building on our in-depth advisory board meetings, we recently staged the first of a number of missions to the sub-Saharan stakeholders who play an active role in POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa. It was reassuring to note that many of the issues raised by the utilities and power experts we met had already been identified as essential topics by the advisory board and were scheduled for inclusion in the 2017 conference in Johannesburg."

Dr. Willie de Beer, chairman of the POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa board, explains that POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa strives to develop a conference programme that goes beyond talk, to help address real challenges in the sector. "To complement the Advisory Board Meeting and the development of the draft programme for the July 2017 POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa conference and exhibition, a visit to other countries within Africa was regarded as very important. The objective of the visit was to learn first-hand from other utilities, policymakers, regulators and service providers regarding their views, opportunities and challenges from an electricity supply industry perspective. Furthermore the 2017 draft programme was shared to gather inputs and to evaluate how best to adjust the programme to ensure that it address the requirements of Africa."

De Beer added: "Without exception all of the site visits were very positive and all indications are that the 2017 POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa conference will address key industry challenges and opportunities. It is important to note that further visits to other Africa countries will take place during 2017."

Among the issues African stakeholders touched on were renewables, the privatisation of state assets and challenges around financing for infrastructure expansion.

Blackaby reports: "In Namibia, our meetings uncovered interest in baseload renewable capacity and concentrating solar power technologies. Other key issues mentioned were safety procedures and regulations for high voltage work, and the financing of electricity infrastructure expansion. In Botswana, we found refurbishment of ageing assets, funding for privatisation and the development of an IPP programme to exploit solar resources to be key areas of interest. Zimbabwe too, had concerns about managing risk and securing finance, and an interest in asset rehabilitation and CFB technology. Like a number of Southern African countries, Zimbabwe is keen to explore new market models and this is an aspect the conference will address."

Further African missions are planned in the run-up to POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2017, which will be staged from 18 - 20 July in Johannesburg.

Among the topics to be covered in POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2017's Africa-focused agenda are finance and investment, the digital technology revolution in power plant technology, decentralised energy solutions, models for industry sustainability, asset performance management, opportunities in renewable technologies, solar energy, bioenergies, trends in utility management, lessons for Africa from world nuclear power programmes and a panel debate advancing visions for Africa's energy future.

As the leading Africa-focused power sector conference and exhibition, POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa also hosts a 70-strong sub-Saharan African delegation, whose members engage in B2B meetings with the event's delegates and exhibitors, and exchange knowledge and best practice in Africa.

POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2017 will be staged from 18 - 20 July at the Sandton Convention Centre. The event is attended by over 3,000 power industry stakeholders, utilities and sub-Saharan government officials from pan-Africa and abroad. For more information, go to http://www.powergenafrica.com

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