The inaugural POWER-GEN Africa and co-located Renewable Energy World Africa conference and exhibition will take place from 6-8 November 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The importance of these events is emphasised by South Africa’s Minister of Energy, Ms. Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, “It is imperative to all that we highlight the importance of energy to society and all that this brings to the public of sub-Saharan African countries, both in terms of job creation and quality of living, as well as the impact upon business, including the driving force it can be for industrial growth.”
The Minister, who will speak at the opening of POWER-GEN Africa, adds, “The POWER-GEN brand has worldwide recognition, with premier events such as POWER-GEN International, Europe, Asia, Middle East and India. The arrival of such a brand to Africa is an indication of the growing global significance of the region and we welcome this opportunity to create a dialogue among power industry professionals both within the region and from around the world.”
Creating this dialogue is a key focus of the event, which features a conference and exhibition, under the theme “Global Technology for Local Solutions.” Conference speakers include international experts, who will share knowledge and solutions as they engage with the local industry to strategise, plan, prepare and move forward to meet the growing energy needs being driven by Africa’s economic growth.
According to Nigel Blackaby, event director and director of conferences at the PennWell International Power Group UK, the three-track conference programme, which spans strategic and technical issues as well as renewable energy generation, offers broad content that ranges from investment models to plant operations and maintenance techniques and all facets in between.
Dr. Jacob Klimstra of the Netherlands is an independent energy consultant, author and member of the POWER-GEN Africa Advisory Board, who has written and presented some 100 papers on energy supply, cogeneration and engine development. He served for many years as senior specialist on energy issues and engine-driven power systems at Wärtsilä Power Plants and is among the speakers who will bring their expertise to bear upon the conference theme of Global Technology for Local Solutions.
In his capacity as consultant on behalf of Wärtsilä Power Plants Africa, Dr. Klimstra will present on Smart Power Generation Technology for Africa, in the conference’s Technology Track, Session 4 on Flexible Power Generation. Thereafter, he will chair a session on Fuel Quality Issues, before moving to the Renewable Energy World Track to chair on the topic of Bioenergy Development – Domestic, Commercial & Industrial.
Dr. Klimstra maintains that electricity is key to unlocking Africa’s global competitiveness and eradicating poverty on the continent. According to him, the average electricity consumption per person, per year in Africa is about 500 kWh, while the world average is 2500 kWh. Subtract northern Africa and South Africa from that equation and a more realistic picture is revealed of 180 kWh per capita per year for East, Central and West Africa – a mere 1.5% of what the average North American uses.
“Improving the economy and thus removing poverty, famine and conflicts in Africa requires a substantial, rapid increase in electricity supply, from 180kWh per capita to at least 1000 kWh, with long term expansion to 2500 kWh. Ultimately, this production must be based on sustainable resources. However, to pull the continent out of the cycle of un-competitiveness caused by lack of electric power, a smart system based on flexible power plants is needed. This quickly provides the population with the required power, while these power plants can eventually serve as a back-up system for renewable energy.” Dr. Klimstra’s book ‘Smart Power Generation’ will be available free of charge to attendees at POWER-GEN Africa.
The need for a smart energy solution, where fossil fuel power plants provide the reliable backbone power for renewable energy solutions, will be explored further by experienced power generation specialist and engineer Markus Weber; Sales Director for Power Plants at Siemens, Germany and Business Unit speaker for Africa on fossil power solutions. Weber will chair the Technology Track’s Session on Gas Turbine Technology on 6 November and also present during that session on “Gas Turbines Fueling Power in Africa.”
Realising the goal of smart energy solutions will however require engineering skills that are presently in as short supply on the continent as power is. Professor Louis Jestin, who was technical director of Electricité de France (EDF) Group in Poland before being seconded to Eskom as a senior power generation consultant, will bring his expertise to bear upon this issue of skills and capacity building. His presentation looks at the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI), a concept developed by Eskom and EDF in 2010 and breathed to life in January 2012 in conjunction with six South African universities.
Says Prof. Jestin, “The aim of EPPEI is to increase the number of engineering specialists in Eskom and also to organise research activities to be carried out on engineering needs. To this end, 2 of our current 42 students are studying for doctorates while the others target masters degrees, with research theses based on Eskom-specific topics. In addition, we are contracting our partner universities to fund eight new Chairs in Engineering and facilitating collaboration between them and other local universities, as well as Original Equipment Manufacturers, foreign utilities and foreign universities. Ultimately we aim to open EPPEI to all South African companies and thereafter to all of Africa and even worldwide.”
While that capacity is being built, delegates will benefit from the insights of experienced professional engineers like Ron Miller who is Energy Solutions Manager – Africa Region for Newmont Mining Corporation of the USA. He will present on “African Energy Project Development Challenges” for the Strategic Track, Session 2.
Explains Miller, “My presentation will review the key Africa energy project development challenges, including: meeting high annual energy demand growth rates, resource assessment, transmission reliability, project economics, environmental and regulatory policy, and financing.”
If Africa is to succeed in expanding its power generation capacity however, investors must be sought and funding obtained to finance these initiatives. This is the particular specialty of Dr. Hana-Muriel Setteboun, VP Business Development & Finance of Israel’s FK Group in Johannesburg, who will take the floor during Session 5 of the Strategic Track to discuss “The Art of Investment Risk Mitigation.”
Running parallel to the conference and complementing its strong speaker line-up and content, is the sold-out exhibition of POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa. The expo’s will feature 85 exhibitors from 18 countries, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Finland and South Africa.
S&C Electric Europe Ltd, a global leader in smart grid solutions including the integration of renewable energy, is among the exhibitors that will showcase their wares. The company will present its range of field-proven solutions for integrating wind energy plants with the grid in a predictable, streamlined manner.
Also exhibiting is Germany’s SCHADE Lagertechnik GmbH, a leading supplier of storage and blending bed technology, whose reputation is founded on its highly specialised equipment for stacking, blending and reclaiming of bulk materials. The company also offers services that include planning, consulting, engineering, field assembly, site supervision, commissioning, after sales service and equipment refurbishment and upgrading.
“We want to intensify our business contacts in and beyond the power sector in Southern Africa. Therefore, POWER-GEN is the new must-attend event and the right platform,” says Karl-Heinz Fiegenbaum, Managing Director, SCHADE Lagertechnik Germany.
First Solar, a premier provider of complete solar solutions, will use the expo to exhibit its industry-leading thin film photovoltaic module technology as well as its full service capabilities; from module manufacturing, project development, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), Operations and Maintenance (O&M), to project financing.
Explains Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s VP of Business Development for EMEA, “POWER-GEN is a great place to meet with important stakeholders such as government ministries, utilities, independent power producers, grid integrators and project developers. Given the facts that Africa is a relatively young solar market with enormous natural resources and that the majority of electricity is generated from conventional fossil fuels, our goal is to meet potential local partners and educate stakeholders on the great potential of PV solar power plants.”
Blackaby concludes, “Enthusiasm for POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa has been evident from the very start, with all participants excited about the opportunity to meet and partner with Africa’s electricity professionals. This week we finally have the opportunity to turn this enthusiasm into action.”
The stage has indeed been set for this highly anticipated event, to which all role players and stakeholders in the power industry are welcome. Entrance to the exhibition is free to visitors who pre-register online at www.powergenafrica.com or R100 to unregistered visitors. Conference registration can also be completed online, though provision has been made to accommodate on-site registration as well.