Category Archives: South Africa

Praise for first POWER-GEN Africa

Thank you to all who participated in the inaugural POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa event last week. Judging by the positive atmosphere at the show and from the feedback we have received, the conference & exhibition met or even exceeded attendees’ expectations. The quality and variety of conference presentations added considerably to the body of knowledge in the industry and the exhibition floor represented the very best in global power engineering technology and services.

The keynote speakers from the South African Ministry of Energy, Eskom and the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on Power articulated very well the challenge facing Africa in terms of expanding its power provision and the bold strategies that will address this. POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa will continue to support this vital work by spreading knowledge, information and experience as well by bringing together industry experts to exchange views and establish partnerships.

Keep up with industry developments by subscribing to our Twitter feed, Facebook and Linked in accounts and look out for the Call for Papers inviting speaker presentations for the next conference.

The second POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa takes place in Cape Town, 17-19 March 2014. I look forward to seeing you there.

Nigel Blackaby

Event Director


Africa good for business says Geldof

“Africa is now a continent of extraordinary business and investment opportunity,” says Bob Geldof, one of Africa’s most astute and knowledgeable economic commentators. Geldof has transformed his approach to Africa from one of fund raising and campaigning for debt relief to promoting private enterprise.

“Private equity is one way to support the enterprise and dynamism of the people of the continent and help provide the jobs and skills that are needed,” said the rock start turned businessman on Monday.

With many African countries experiencing annual growth at 6 per cent or more, many international businesses are turning their attention to opportinites that the continent offers. The power industry will be the driving force behind much of this growth . Global power and automation group ABB said today that the continent could spend some $26.5 billion yearly on rehabilitating and expandiong its power infrastructure up until 2015 and that Africa’s power generation capacity could double by 2025.

ABB has announced it own growth startegu for Africa using engineering hubs in South Africa and Egypt. It plans to add 250 more people to its 4500 existing workforce in Africa.

Frost & Sullivan energy and power systems research analyst Gareth Blanckenberg described ABB’s announcement as “good news”, adding that it reflected the large opportunity present in infrastructure development, both within South Africa and across the continent.

He added that it could also set a precedent for other large international firms looking to do business in Africa. “South Africa is a favourable entry point for Africa, because of its well developed infrastructure and strong financial and legal institutions,” Blanckenberg said.

The opportunites for the electric power industry in Africa will be showcased at the POWER-GEN Africa conference & exhibition to be staged in Johannesburg 6-8 November 2012. The conference Advsiory Board will meet at the end of the month to plan the three-track conference and will be reviewing over 150 abstracts submitted by power industry firms and professionals.


Wärtsilä confirms Diamond Sponsorship at POWER-GEN Africa 2012

POWER-GEN Africa has confirmed the support of Wärtsilä as Diamond Sponsor for the upcoming 2012 Conference and Exhibition, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 6-8 November 2012.

Wärtsilä joins Pratt & Whitney as sponsors of the inaugural POWER-GEN Africa, with further major organizations looking to come on board for this exciting new event.  As Diamond Sponsor, Wärtsilä will host the Opening Reception at POWER-GEN Africa 2012, to be held during the afternoon of 6 November 2012 with all delegates and attendees invited to attend. In addition, Wärtsilä will sponsor the Conference Proceedings and a VIP/Utility Partner Programme Lounge, with PennWell, as seen at other POWER-GEN events.

Wärtsilä is a leading supplier of power plants for the decentralized power generation market. Wärtsilä offers power plants for baseload, peaking and industrial self-generation purposes as well as for the oil and gas industry. The strengths of Wärtsilä power plants are their flexible design, high efficiency and low emission levels. Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasizing technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers.

POWER-GEN Africa provides a vital platform for companies like Wärtsilä who are interested in working with the local power industry in sub-Saharan African countries and those looking to invest in the sector

POWER-GEN Africa joins PennWell’s existing network of leading POWER-GEN events including POWER-GEN International, POWER-GEN Europe, POWER-GEN Asia, POWER-GEN Middle East and POWER-GEN India & Central Asia. This event will be owned and managed by PennWell, and supported by Power Engineering International (PEi), Renewable Energy World and Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production (COSPP) publications.

This important new industry forum will feature leading power industry professionals from around the world who will share their expertise and experiences to help define Africa’s energy sector of the future. POWER-GEN Africa is set to become the region’s premier conference dedicated to the power industry. It will also provide the perfect setting for industry leaders and decision-makers to network and keep abreast of the latest developments in the sub-Saharan region in the field of power and energy. The inaugural POWER-GEN Africa will provide comprehensive coverage of the power needs, resources, and issues facing the electricity generation industries across sub-Saharan Africa, by way of a three track conference.

The POWER-GEN Africa Call for Papers is currently open, with industry professionals invited to lodge their abstracts before the submittal deadline of 3 February 2012. For further information on conference topics and how to submit an abstract, please visit the POWER-GEN Africa website at

Based on the reputation of the global POWER-GEN events, POWER-GEN Africa’s exhibition is expected to attract the world’s leading power equipment and service suppliers, who will line-up alongside local electricity generators and power engineering firms all demonstrating their latest technologies.

Global attention is being paid to Africa’s power requirements as the continent continues to experience rapid growth and development, driving the need for more widespread and reliable electricity. With reserve margins virtually non-existent in the sub-Saharan Africa region, leading to blackout and load shedding scenarios, the region faces the real prospect of inadequate energy infrastructure acting as a brake on current and future economic growth. In tackling these problems, the region also faces a great shortage in the area of trained engineering professionals.
POWER-GEN Africa is designed for those who work in the utility and private power sectors, engineering and commercial personnel from the equipment manufacturing and consulting fields. POWER-GEN Africa addresses professionals from energy intensive industries with responsibility for ensuring power supply, and officials and ministers from the national and regional political spheres who are tasked with energy policy. For further details, please visit

Pratt & Whitney sign up for POWER-GEN Africa 2012 sponsorship

POWER-GEN Africa has confirmed the support of US-based Pratt & Whitney as a sponsor for the upcoming 2012 Conference and Exhibition, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 68 November 2012.

Pratt & Whitney have confirmed their sponsorship for the inaugural POWER-GEN Africa, as further major organizations look to come on board for this exciting new event.

Pratt & Whitney provide critical solutions for emergency power requirements, baseload plants, cogeneration and combined cycle configurations, working with incumbent utilities, independent power producers or EPC contractors.

Please CLICK HERE for the full Press Release.

Presidential inauguration of COP17 solar flagship legacy project

South Africa’s first 500kW concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) power plant representing the COP17 flagship project was officially inaugurated by President Dr. Jacob G. Zuma on Sunday, December 4.

The solar plant located in Hazelmere, next to Durban, installed by Soitec and developed in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and eThekwini Municipality, was constructed in just one month to showcase the country’s commitment to lowering its carbon footprint through the deployment of renewable energy during COP17. Group Five, an integrated construction services, materials and infrastructure investment group operating in Africa, was the construction partner for the project.

In his keynote address, President Dr. Jacob G. Zuma said, “This is South Africa’s first large scale offering within the Clean Energy Arena, but it is not the last. We congratulate all partners in this project. We are ready to forge and support those partnerships that will enable us to embark on the journey to a low carbon economy, while stimulating economic development and creating jobs,” added President Zuma.

In her speech, Minister of Energy Ms Dipuo Peters said, “It is encouraging that this project has already started contributing towards the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 which outlines 42% of renewable energy by 2030 and leaves a legacy for COP 17. This is an exciting development for South Africa and will be the forerunner of a range of renewable energy projects currently being developed in the country. This CPV is connected to the electricity distribution supply grid of the city to augment the power supply to the ICCC where the UNFCCC COP 17 is being hosted to reduce the carbon footprint of the event. This clearly demonstrates the state of readiness in the municipal’s energy planning and installation of this 500kw as a first phase. It is even more encouraging to see that the Municipality is a buyer of this clean electricity.”

 “Soitec is proud to continue supporting the country’s young but growing renewable energy sector. We are committed to South Africa. No other company has taken a similar approach and we are ready to take the next step,” commented president and CEO of Soitec André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé. “It is a tangible commitment from South African government to ‘work together to save tomorrow today’.”

The 500 kW solar plant consists of 32 two-axis tracking systems to ensure that concentrated sunlight remains focused on the solar cells with a high degree of precision throughout the day, delivering constant power output feeding into the area’s power-supply grid. The Fresnel lens used in the modules focuses sunlight concentrated by a factor of 500 on the high-performance solar cells beneath for a world-leading module efficiency of close to 30 percent.

South Africa begins renewable energy drive

South Africa has made the first step in its efforts to diversify from coal, approving tenders for a renewable energy drive to install 630 MW of wind projects and a similar quantity of solar PV.

The 28 preferred bidders for first round tenders, with projects totaling 1416 MW, have until the end of June to have financing in order, with construction to begin shortly thereafter.

According to the South Africa Department for Energy, a further 2200 MW of renewable projects will be announced over the coming two years as South Africa looks to diversify from coal.

The news was welcomed by the Global Wind Energy Council‘s secretary general, Steve Sawyer, he said: “Much of sub-Saharan Africa has tremendous wind and solar potential, a dynamic and growing economy and severe water shortages; perfect conditions to grow a renewable energy industry.”

South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan, adopted in 2010, calls for 8400 MW of wind power over the course of the next 20 years.

Of the projects selected, around 632 MW were for solar photovoltaic projects; 150 MW for concentrated solar power and 634 MW, for wind developments.

South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies said that “The South African Renewables Initiative aims to unlock the environmental, industrial, and economic benefits that large-scale renewable energy offer to South Africa, without imposing an unacceptable burden on our economy, public finances or citizens.”


Big electricity industry event heads for Africa

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