Sunday, January 29, 2023

Cape Town conference to address Africa’s infrastructure challenges

Africa’s power challenges to meet the future demands, given its growing industrialisation and bloating population, will come under in-depth discussion at POWER-GEN Africa and DistribuTECH Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (ICC) from March 17 ÔÇô 19, 2014, DistribuTECH Africa Pretoria-based energy expert Dr. Willie de Beer has said.

Addressing about 10,000 delegates from 67 countries to discuss global power trends and challenges recently at DistribuTECH International/Utility Products in San Antonio, Texas, USA De Beer said research on Africa’s power demand is forecasted to grow from 590 to 3100 trillion Watt Hours (TWh) from 2010 to 2040, respectively.

The alarming statistics are well beyond the coping capacity of Africa’s ageing generation infrastructure, despite remedial multiple programmes being put in place to address the challenges.

The Pretoria based energy expert said: “Eskom, South Africa’s national electricity company and DistribuTECH Africa’s Host Utility & Networking Sponsor, plans to spend over $150 billion (P1.350 trillion) on power infrastructure over the 2010 – 2030 timeframe, including $11 billion around (P100 billion) on transmission-sector reliability alone and pilot projects over the next 10 years.”

Apart from a power supply agreement with Botswana Power Corporation until the end of 2015, the South Africa’s power utility Eskom exports electricity to neighbouring countries like Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

“The phenomenal growth in demand exceeding previous customer expectations are a result of the ever-increasing African population projected to reach 1.9 billion by 2050. While pockets of power excellence and high levels of stability exist across the continent, the need for investment and upgrades was clear. However, South Africa and the continent as a whole, is taking steps to address the challenges,” he said.

According to De Beer, co-location of the energy extravaganza to the Cape Town ICC, a first in continent’s history is expected to attract around 3,000 industry experts and power industry professionals from across Africa and abroad.

The organisers and hosts, PennWell Events are expecting to feature one of the best of the international POWER-GEN and DistribuTECH Africa corporate excellence, combined with an in-depth focus on Africa’s unique challenges and opportunities. The world’s leading power engineering vendors will also present solutions designed to address Africa’s unique power challenges.

De Beer said that facilitating economic development, maintaining smart electricity transmission grids and showcasing the crucial role of emerging technologies, are just some of the solutions the inaugural DistribuTECH Africa event will present to help Africa achieve successful strategies for long-term, sustainable solutions.

Africa is part of the Smart Grid infrastructure investment by 45 emerging market countries, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS country alliance, which over the next decade will reach $274.9 billion about (BP2, 474.1 trillion) outpacing investment by developed countries, De Beer stated.

In addition, Africa and South Africa’s investment is particularly focused on reducing electricity theft, improving reliability and incorporating renewable energy into electricity grids, and Africa is a key focus for the US, benefiting from President Barack Obama’s grant package worth $7 billion about (P63billion) in government funding plus an additional $9 billion about (P81billion) in private sector commitments.

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