African Utility Week will host about 7,000 decision makers from more than 80 countries to discuss challenges and successes in the power, energy and water sectors on the continent from May 15 to 17 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The event boasts a six-track conference with more than 300 industry expert speakers, side events and networking functions.

The African Utility expo offers an extensive, CPD-accredited technical workshop programme, is free to attend and includes hands-on presentations. Practical, day-to-day technical topics, best practice and products that can be implemented by businesses, large power users and utilities will be discussed.

Here are some of the expert speakers and partners this year:

Learning from nature

Claire Janisch. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Claire Janisch. Picture: SUPPLIED.

"Every so often an idea comes around that is a game changer. Biomimicry is such an idea. It shows us that genius solutions to our challenges already exist. Right outside, in nature. When you realise that the simple act of learning from and emulating nature’s time tested genius is so profoundly impactful, it’s one of the most inspiring approaches to Africa's big challenges." – Claire Janisch, founder of BiomimicrySA and keynote speaker at African Utility Week.

Read more about biomimicry in action.

Water situation not unique to SA

"What's happening in Cape Town could happen anywhere. As populations in cities grow and economic activities increase, the demand for water will continue to increase. If we now factor in climate change and extreme weather events such as prolonged heat waves and droughts, all of this will put additional pressure on water availability both on the supply and demand side." - Paul Yillia, African Utility Week water conference chairman

Read more about water security.

What every prepaid electricity user and provider should know

In SA, about 7-million prepaid electricity meters need to be reset before November 2024 when the system that runs the credit tokens runs out of numbers. All existing meters will then stop accepting credit tokens.

Read about the Standard Transfer Specification Association’s preparation plans for the rollover.

Investing in energy and water projects

"Green bonds are a viable source of funding and provide a platform for municipalities to demonstrate their commitment to increasing the footprint of climate resilience projects." – Kevin Jacoby, City of Cape Town chief financial officer

Read more about this fundraising and investment success story.

Romain Py, investment director – head of transactions, African Infrastructure Investment Managers. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Romain Py, investment director – head of transactions, African Infrastructure Investment Managers. Picture: SUPPLIED.

"The South African Renewables Programme has attracted investors from all over the world and has also favoured the emergence of a new class of African financial investors such as AIIM."  – Romain Py, investment director – head of transactions, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM)

Read more about investing in energy in Africa.

The future of work

"The rules for success and failure are being rewritten, and there’s no business as usual anymore. This is true in every industry and every market. In this environment, the task of the leader must change."  - Graeme Codrington, internationally recognised futurist

Read more about Codrington, who will deliver a keynote address at African Utility Week on "The future of work and the disruptive forces that are shaping it".

Finance & Investment conference programme

The buzz on renewables – it’s all about micro grids

The recently completed solar micro grid on Robben Island will reduce the World Heritage Site’s fossil fuel consumption by 235,000l of diesel per year or 50% of previous usage. This will result in a reduction of the site’s carbon emission by at least 820 tonnes, and will save the island money during its 25 years of operation. A unique site visit is taking place to the solar farm on May 18.

Read more about the solar micro grid.

Nuclear - it's not over yet

"A nuclear build's contribution to South Africa’s GDP will be staggering. Nuclear energy is certainly not any more expensive than any other energy source. The large, 9,600MW nuclear programme has created an impression of a single expensive mega-project, when in fact the purpose of the fleet approach was to drive down costs over time and increase the learning rate." –Dr. Anthonie Cilliers, nuclear expert

Read more about nuclear energy in Africa.

International pavilions – from India to Germany

Dr. Rajeev Singh. Picture: SUPPLIED.
Dr. Rajeev Singh. Picture: SUPPLIED.

"Indian utility vendors and services will find a huge market and scope in Africa, especially in South Africa’s energy sector." – Dr Rajeev Singh, the director-general and CEO of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and host of the Indian pavilion

Read more about Dr Singh and the Indian utility sector.

"More and more German companies are establishing offices in South Africa, not just because of the growing market for renewable energies, but [also because it acts] as a gateway to neighbouring countries." - Christina Wittek, head of division for the German Energy Solutions initiative at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and host of the German pavilion

Read more about the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

Extracting value from data – the key to network management in a new era

"We have seen the growth in automation to improve the quality of supplies, respond to the increase in DER and enable swift responses to faults. This has created a large quantity of data on how networks are operating and the performance of assets. This has great potential to add real value to the investment strategies of utility companies if they have the tools to turn this ocean of data into actionable information." – Rick St John, business development director Africa, Lucy Electric South Africa – diamond sponsors and longstanding event partners of African Utility Week

Read more about challenges to the energy sector and Lucy Electric’s vision.

Join the leading minds, technology and service providers at African Utility Week from May 15-17 at the CTICC in Cape Town.

For more information, visit the website.

This article was paid for by African Utility Week.