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While reports of outages, cable theft and general tales of woe create an impression that the ‘dark continent’ is an appropriate moniker, there is another tale to be told here — one in which electrification, light, new interconnections and power developments are springing up all over Africa, with innovative technology being adopted at an unprecedented rate
The role of Africa in the world’s energy future is changing as efuels are touted as the answer to the current challenges facing traditional energy systems. With its abundance of sunshine, Africa is well placed to establish itself as the hydrogen production centre for the world and plans for commercialising hydrogen and expanding hydrogen production are well underway in countries across the continent.
Siggi Heugemann, chairman of the African Hydrogen Partnership, told Enlit Africa, “We focus on proposing and supporting projects which are economically and commercially feasible in the short term or now. One of the major focus areas will be green ammonia and green fertiliser production for spot markets where synergies with other market sectors, e.g. backup power systems, export markets and the transportation sector, may also be capable of being maximised.”
Hydrogen’s future in Africa is just one of the topics that is going to be the focus of the upcoming Enlit Africa (formerly African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa), taking place between 7-9 June 2022 at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.
Storage and renewable energy
Energy storage and renewable energy generation are other topics which will be covered and presentations include energy storage as the cornerstone of a successful energy transition, integrating battery energy storage systems at a municipal level, storage, renewable energy and society and the role that new generation and storage is playing in Africa’s mining sector.
It is not just in the larger scale renewable energy sector where changes are being seen. Theresa Smith, senior content producer for Enlit Africa, commented, “The uptake of solar technology is being pushed by the C&I sector across Africa in a way not seen on other continents. So too, minigrids are developing to create first time energy access and growing technology, finance and socio-economic innovation across Africa.”
While access to energy in Africa is still one of the biggest challenges facing the energy sector, even that is changing as attention is focused on a transitioning energy sector.
“In recent years, new distribution models that combine the learnings from over a decade of decentralised energy technology rollout with traditional utility models have emerged, ushering in a new era of utilities: Utilities 2.0. Integrated energy approaches draw the strengths of both centralized and decentralised technologies into novel business models for faster, lower cost and more reliable service delivery,” shared Sumaya Mohammed, country director, Uganda, Power for All and a speaker at the event.
The whole sector ecosystem
Enlit Africa and Cape Town will play host to the leading power and energy sector experts and thought leaders as the programme addresses opportunities to fast forward the energy transition in Africa through collaboration.
Jennifer Anya, operations manager, Husk Power Systems, Nigeria remarked, “The event is going to be packed with world class energy experts, service and product producers. I am most excited about the possibility of collaboration between OEMs and thought leaders to drive energy transition in Africa.
“Most of the time conversations around energy transition are more Europe-centred, not catering to the unique problems of the African community, but this time it puts Africa first and I am most looking forward to the opportunities Enlit Africa will open up after the meeting.”
With free to attend sessions addressing issues as diverse as revenue management and metering to wheeling tariffs and developments in South Africa’s municipal arena, the event covers the entire gamut of sector developments and innovations.
For transmission experts, Eskom’s accelerated transmission development plan will feature in the discussions, along with the benefits of coordinated energy system planning and a guide on funding transmission projects.
“We are looking forward to welcoming old friends and new to the event,” noted Claire Volkwyn, head of content, Enlit Africa. “The amazing thing about Enlit Africa is that we recognise the role that everyone across the sector will play in the energy transition and we welcome input and participation from everyone involved in power generation, transmission and distribution.”
Eskom, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the City of Cape Town have been official hosting partners of the event for many years and 2022 will be no exception.
ESI Africa, the continent’s leading news provider for power and energy news, is the official host publication.
Enlit Africa is Africa’s leading exhibition and conference, gathering the power and energy industry’s most influential professionals and decision makers from across the continent for three days of relevant, accredited technical and strategic conference seminars, valuable networking opportunities and access to world-class products and solutions. Strict health and safety Covid-19 protocols will be observed.