“Strong industry partnerships form the backbone of African Utility Week”
The 15thAfrican Utility Week and Clean Power Africa proved that it is the leading power and water conference and expo of its kind on the continent with a record attendance of 6000 people over three days in Cape Town last week.
“This year we raised the bar in every aspect of African Utility Week” says event director Evan Schiff, “from adding an extra day, producing an exciting and relevant programme with thoughtful speakers, to building our largest expo to date of more than 10 000 square meters and adding to this the various strategic local and international partnerships that enabled us to tell the world about the incredible opportunities available in the African power and water industry.”
From 12-14 May, the event gathered power and water professionals from utilities, governments, large power users, IPPs, consultants, contractors and regulators in the various spheres of the industry from generation, finance and investment, metering, smart grids, water and renewable energy such as solar and wind. The expo featured 250 local and global technology and service providers, 64 free technical workshops and this year boasted several large international pavilions including from Germany, Norway, Italy, India, South Korea and the USA. Some 200 speakers addressed eight conference tracks.
African Utility Week conference highlights include:
· Day 1, Keynote session: Africa is open for business, investing in the hottest frontier
– Victor Kgomoeswana, Author, News Anchor and Business Advisor, South Africa
– Zethembe Khoza, Eskom Board Member
– Andrew Herscowitz, Coordinator for Power Africa & Trade Africa at U.S. Government, USA
· Day 2, Keynote session: Delivering energy solutions for African economies
– David Walker, CEO, DNV-GL, Netherlands
– Hugo Lamin, Public Services Regulation Specialist, Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency, Brazil
· Day 3, Closing keynote: The evolution of the utility: From Edison to grid modernisation to smart cities
– Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia
“With our dedicated finance and investment forum we also proved that the continent’s power and water sector has some really exciting projects to invest in” says Evan Schiff. He adds: “the rural electrification session was a hit! It was hugely topical and relevant and the conference room was packed. Our nuclear panel discussion always provides for great debate. Furthermore, the panel discussion on the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) vision for Africa’s Clean Energy Corridor, formed the perfect platform to get all stakeholders in a room that could make this vision a reality.”
Industry and international partnerships
“Strong industry partnerships form the backbone of African Utility Week and contribute greatly to its success” says event director Evan Schiff, “we are proud to state that we are and remain for the industry and by the industry.” Eskom is a longstanding partner of African Utility Week. The Department of Energy also committed to a three-year partnership with the conference and exhibition while US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative was the event’s country partner this year.
The City of Cape Town was the host city. Professional industry bodies such as SAAMA, SARETEC, SAIEE and SAEE presented the free, CPD-accredited workshops on the expo floor. Another unique feature this year was the broadcasting partnership with leading television news channel eNCA that broadcast live from the event and interviewed many of the leading speakers and partners.
The global electrical engineering firm DNV-GL was the exclusive diamond sponsor of the event while Accenture, Building Energy, MarelliMotori and Edison Power Group were the platinum sponsors.
Awards honouring industry’s best
During the second African Utility Week Industry Awards, the 10 top achievers and projects in the industry were celebrated. “This is the highest honour I have received in my life. I feel honoured and humbled” said Dr Lawrence Musaba, Coordination Centre Manager, Southern African Power Pool in Zimbabwe when he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. City Power’s MD Sicelo Goodwill Xulu was named Top Utility Executive of the Year, eThekwini was named Municipality of the Year while the well-known retailer Ackermans won the Energy & Water Efficiency Project of the Year.
Compliments from African Utility Week partners:
– “The event was great, and I’m really happy with all the media attention we’ve attracted during this event. I really appreciated your help in getting the best exposure out of this event.” – Suze Hupkes, DNV GL, diamond sponsor
– “Seems like a good turn-out with a lot of people visiting the stands. Quality and level of exhibition stands is the best ever in all the years. Thank you.” – Dave Tarr, Landis+Gyr
– “The experience is very good, making good contacts in the area of training. There are good contacts for equipment suppliers, service providers, consultants this has turn out to be a very good show. Definitely coming back next year.” – Brian Makungo, Kafue Gorge Training Centre
– “Great event, well organised and marketed to relevant people.” – Asanda Makanda, Manoa Holdings
– “Exceeded my expectations, foot traffic was tremendous. Very good show.” – Thando Mjebeza, Zimele
– “We have great pleasure to say that the show has met all our expectations. All targeted visitors have met with us and we have also managed to have an opportunity to meet some people we have struggled so long to get through to.” – Dante Mgulwa, M-TEC
African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.
The 2016 edition of the event will take place from 17-19 May – check out the website for the developments of the next African Utility Week.