Conference and Expo Aims to Empower Africa to Unlock Its Energy Potential

Local power industry stakeholders are preparing to convene at the inaugural POWER-GEN Africa and co-located Renewable Energy World Africa events, from 6-8 November 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Under the theme “Global Technology for Local Solutions” the three-track conference and associated expo will set the stage for the industry to strategise, plan, prepare and move forward to meet the growing energy needs being driven by Africa’s economic growth.

POWER-GEN Africa joins a global network that includes POWER-GEN International, POWER-GEN Europe, POWER-GEN Asia, POWER-GEN Middle-East and POWER-GEN India & Central Asia. The events are organised by the PennWell International Power Group, a 100-year-old company with offices in London and Moscow and three offices, including its headquarters, in the USA.

Says Nigel Blackaby, event director and director of conferences at the PennWell International Power Group, UK: “POWER-GEN Africa is the first new POWER-GEN event in 10 years, a fact that is strongly indicative of our policy of only bringing a fully researched concept to market, with a view to hosting the event long-term. The first POWER-GEN event took place 24 years ago in the US, followed by the Europe and Asia events, which are now in their 20th years.

“POWER-GEN Africa came to fruition for two key reasons. First, we believe that given Africa’s growth potential, this event has the ability to serve as a catalyst to hasten the expansion of the electricity generation sector that is a vital prerequisite for industrial growth and social development on the continent. Secondly, it comes on the back of growing demand from our customers, major power engineering firms from around the globe, who are eager to exchange views and share their technology and solutions with the local market.”

PennWell remains close to the market by working with an Advisory Board of local and global experts, to plan the conference themes, topics and papers. As a result, the event honours Africa’s unique challenges and opportunities, while enabling its stakeholders to engage with the latest technologies and techniques and discover how these can be adapted and implemented in an African context. Hence the theme “Global Technology for Local Solutions.”

Recognising that there are three key areas of interest for power industry stakeholders, the POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa conference is divided into three distinct tracks.

The Strategic Track is aimed at power industry decision makers and regulators and will feature high-level debate on ensuring energy security for Africa and address topics that include sector regulation, financing, skills, capacity building and more. The Technology Track is, in turn, aimed at the industry’s operational side and tackles topics ranging from steam technology, to gas turbine technology and performance optimisation, among others. The Renewable Track takes both a strategic and hands-on approach to the growing field of renewable energy, and puts under the microscope policies for sustainable development, the future of hydropower, geothermal energy and creating a strong solar industry, among other topics.

“The conference content is such that it has the power to be a force for good in advancing project development, efficient plant design and operation and delivering cheaper, cleaner energy to the continent, all of which will ultimately bolster job creation, build skill-sets and add real economic value to the countries of Africa,” says Blackaby.

Conference speakers are drawn from local and international power industry leaders, thought leaders and major role-players. South Africa’s own Minister of Energy, Ms. Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, will be a keynote speaker, alongside Brian Dames, CEO of Eskom and Engr. Reynolds Bekinbo Dagogo-Jack, Chairman of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on Power. The programme also features speakers from major global suppliers, including Siemens, GE Energy Andritz, Alstom, Wartsila and Hitachi.

If the conference represents an awakening to the opportunities and potential of Africa’s power generation industry, then the exhibition is a showcase of the tangible means to realise that potential. This sold-out expo will bring to life the latest, most advanced technologies, products and services available to the industry, representing the world’s foremost suppliers from countries in Africa and all over Europe, as well as China, Korea, Japan, Russia, India and the USA.

The reception to the 2012 POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa events has been very positive. As a result, the company is already looking toward to the second POWER-GEN Africa, which it anticipates will be twice the size of this event, and in addition will stage a transmission and distribution event in October 2013, that will be part of its hugely successful DistribuTECH franchise.

Blackaby concludes, “The toughest challenge is for Africa to break out of a cycle that prevents the rapid expansion of power capacity due to lack of available investment capital. For industry to expand and generate the surpluses that would create that capital for investment, it needs reliable and available electricity supplies. With enough investment, liberalisation and a modern, flexible and efficient approach to power plant and power system operation, it is possible to break this vicious circle.”

Certainly breaking this cycle will be foremost on the minds of attendees at Africa’s first globally representative power energy event. For more information on these events and to register for the conference, visit or

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