A yearly conference of international power generation and electricity industry companies, POWER-GEN, will be held in Africa next year in response to requests from the international electricity industry, which sees opportunities on the continent, says event organiser PennWell director of conferences Nigel Blackaby.
“The internationally recognised POWER-GEN conference and exhibition will be held in Africa in response to requests from our existing international exhibitors, who have attended the conferences in Asia, the Middle East, India, Russia and Europe, and who are alive to the opportunities that Africa offers in terms of business. They aim to present their new technologies to help deal with the power issues on the continent,” he says.
The November 6 to 8 event mostly focuses on utility-scale systems, renewable sources and innovative ideas, which are aimed at attracting electricity companies on the continent, as well as independent power producers. The conference and exhibition will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
However, the conference will also present ideas on political issues, such as rural electrification and regional integration, many of which are similar to challenges raised at the POWER-GEN Asia conferences.
“POWER-GEN Africa will be hosted yearly and our intention is to get it started in South Africa. However, Power-Gen conferences tend to be peripatetic and there is no reason not to locate the conference in other countries in future.
“However, South Africa is the obvious country to start in because it is industrialised and has supply links with many of the African markets. Certain criteria must be fulfilled to rationalise a POWER-GEN conference in a country, one of which is a reasonably sized domestic market and domestic electricity industry that will take an interest in the conference and exhibition,” he says.
He notes that Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has signalled that she will be one of the keynote speakers at the opening and State-owned power utility Eskom CEO Brian Dames has also signalled that he wishes to address the opening of the conference.
Further, the need in the South African market for new electricity technologies, strategies and methodologies is obvious, especially considering the fossil fuel discoveries on the east and west coasts of the continent, some of which will make its way into South Africa.
“The scope of the event is aimed at sub- Saharan Africa and tackling region-specific issues. “This will include solar energy systems for use in Southern Africa, but will also debate hydroelectric systems for use in Central Africa, as well as regional integration, includ- ing exporting excess capacity or sharing capacity,” explains Blackaby.
The conference will follow three main streams, namely strategic issues, covering business decisions, financial topics, regulatory environments and political issues; technical issues, including power plant technologies, operation and maintenance strategies and equipment; and renewables – and will focus on the potential for their deployment on the vast continent.
Article first published in Engineering News magazine
Reporter: Schalk Burger