Africa’s Energy Stakeholders Embrace “Global Technology for Local Solutions”

The timing of the first POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa, which took place from 6-8 November 2012 in Johannesburg could not have been more favourable as the first contracts between the South African government and independent power producers (IPPs) to add 1400 megawatts of renewable energy to the national grid was signed during the week of the event.


Explains Nigel Blackaby, Event Director and Director of International Conferences at event organisers, PennWell Corporation, “this underscores the importance and significance of hosting a globally representative power generation exhibition and conference such as POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa, which is aimed at linking professionals in the energy generation industry of Africa with leaders from the rest of the world.”


Blackaby added that “POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa came at a critical juncture for the continent. With Africa’s economic growth driving increasing energy demand against a backdrop of unfulfilled and pent-up energy needs, the time was ripe for its stakeholders to engage with local and international experts, to strategise, plan and move forward to meet these needs.”


“Hence the theme ‘Global Technology for Local Solutions’ and the excellent response and participation in these events.”


Research conducted on-site at the inaugural POWER-GEN Africa and co-located Renewable Energy World Africa underscored the success of the event and revealed interesting insights into the nature and experiences of the visitors and companies that participated.


Some 2113 visitors from 63 countries and six continents attended the conference and exhibition, which took place from 6-8 November 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.


A look at POWER-GEN Africa’s visitor demographics reveals an excellent mix of stakeholders, with equipment suppliers accounting for 20% of visitors, electric utilities or power generation companies accounting for 19% and consulting engineers and constructor firms accounting for 18%. Government energy department representatives, in turn, accounted for a (proportionately) significant 3% of visitors.


Of these attendees, 67% hailed from Africa, 19% from Europe, 7% from Asia, 6% from North America and the balance from the Middle East, South America and Australasia.


“Our on-site research further revealed that over a third of visitors are either involved in or interested in renewable energy, while 29% either represented or were interested in thermal plants. Moreover, of those present, 39% were either the president, VP, CEO or MD of their company, while managers and supervisors accounted for 31% and engineers for 20% of visitors.


“37% of all attendees had final purchasing authority in their organisations. From this we can conclude that POWER-GEN Africa attracted a high calibre audience of decision makers and with a marked interest in renewable energy,” comments Blackaby.


The POWER-GEN Africa exhibition featured 87 exhibitors from around the world, included among which were several of the leading international power generation companies. The majority of exhibitors (81%) participated with a view to establishing new business sales contacts and selling products, and 93% found the event successful in terms of sales and future business and deemed the quality of visitors to be “good” or “very good.”


The conference, in turn, featured 94 speakers and according to Blackaby received excellent feedback from delegates, who expressed how impressed they were with the quality and depth of the presentations, coupled with the high calibre of local international speakers.


Most significantly, 93% of visitors found POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa important to achieving their business objectives and an extraordinary 100% of visitors surveyed said it fulfilled their expectations.


On the back of the success of this inaugural event and an already 50% rebooking for the 2014 event, organisers have confirmed that the next POWER-GEN Africa and Renewable Energy World Africa conference and exhibition will take place in March 2014, in Cape Town.


In the interim the 13% of visitors to this event who were either involved or interested in transmission and distribution, will be pleased to note that PennWell will launch its globally respected DistribuTECH brand next year, with the inaugural DistribuTECH Africa conference and exhibition, taking place from 30 October to 1 November 2013 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.


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