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City of Cape Town official host city of African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa

“City has a clear, very strategic and long-term vision”

The City of Cape Town has a clear, very strategic and long-term vision to plan for the expansion of the city and cope with subsequent growth, along with the need to drive carbon emission reduction, increase the use of clean energy, and maximise on water resources, says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, programme director of the upcoming African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and exhibition. The City of Cape Town is the official host city of this annual event, and will welcome more than 5000 power and water professionals to the CTICC from 13-14 May.

“Compared to other large municipalities in the country, the City of Cape Town is one of the best”, says Pombo-van Zyl, “and the City now also holds the prestigious title of Global Earth Hour Capital for 2014. We are privileged to be aligned with our host city’s endeavours in reducing the energy consumption and managing water resources. It is through the sharing of knowledge, technology and interaction with industry professionals during the conference and on the exhibition floor that large industry and utilities can find stimulating solutions to energy and water challenges.“

Not only will some of Cape Town’s top water and electricity experts speak at African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa, the City will also showcase its Fisantekraal Wastewater and Faure Water Treatment Plant during a technical site visit that includes a tour of Spier wine farm’s waste water treatment plant.

Cape Town successful in managing water demand
The City of Cape Town’s Director of Water and Sanitation, Peter Flower, who will be a panellist during the event’s much anticipated and high-level Water-Energy-Food nexus panel dialogue, says “the City’s Water Department has been able to very successfully manage its demand growth over the last 14 years, through the co-operation of the residents of Cape Town and the successful water demand management strategy that the City has implemented. An indication of the success of these efforts is that in 2013/14, the City used less water than in the year 1999/2000. This is remarkable when you consider there was significant population growth during this period.”

Electricity consumption 18% down
Sarah Ward, who is the City’s Head: Energy & Climate Change, Environmental Resource Management Department, and also a speaker at the event, has seen a similar trend in the consumption of electricity:  “I’d like to see a city that is decoupling its economic wellbeing from its electricity consumption. And we are doing this“

She explains: “since 2007 we have seen great improvements, a strong decoupling, and Cape Town’s rate of growth has continued at the same rate as it did before. In fact, electricity consumption is 18% down on a business-as-usual projection and is now below 2007 consumption. There is still a lot more that can be done in building this resource efficient more robust economy.  Tariff increases and load shedding have woken people up big time. The threat and reality of load shedding is going to be with us for a long time.”

Consistent water quality
According to Peter Flower the City has consistently managed to produce excellent quality water: “we are proud of our long-standing track record of producing excellent water quality and stringent water testing. Last year we received a Platinum Award in the DWA’s annual Blue Drop Assessment Programme for 4 successive Blue Drop Awards. We are hoping for our 5th in a row this year after recently completing the rigorous two-day assessment“

According to Flower “the most gratifying projects are those where you can see the difference that you make to people’s lives – provision of water and sanitation where they never had access to these services before. We often forget that in our business we have a positive impact on every citizen’s life every day.”

He continues: “as an engineer, I am naturally excited about many of the large infrastructure build projects we have on the horizon – an example is a R1.7 billion bulk water supply scheme including the new 500Ml/d water treatment works two 300Ml reservoirs and large diameter pipeline from the Berg River Dam, which will be constructed over the next eight years. Beyond that, we are looking at new technologies to supply water, and it is interesting to be breaking new ground for Cape Town in studies looking at large scale groundwater abstraction, water reclamation for non-potable and potable use, and the desalination of sea water.”

The City’s Wastewater has also received the Integrated Environmental Authorisation from the Department of Environment Affairs for the development of its Biosolids Benefication Facility (BBF). Presently, as part of the wastewater treatment, the treated effluent is recovered for use for irrigation/industrial/golf estates and the majority of the sludge (biosolids) is applied to agricultural land.

More City speakers at African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa are:

  • Complex tariff structures for load shifting
    Cornelius Malan, Metering Manager, City of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Small scale renewable electricity generation in the City of Cape Town
    Brian Jones, Head: Green Energy, City of Cape Town, South Africa

Expo and free workshops
The African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa expo will focus on the latest technology and services in the industry disciplines of metering, clean power, water, large power users, investment and finance, transmission & distribution, smart grids and generation.

To assist utilities, municipalities and other large power users become more energy efficient and explore renewable energy options, African Utility Week has also teamed up with professional industry bodies for a varied series of free CPD-accredited technical workshops in electrical engineering, energy efficiency and renewable energy taking place on the expo floor.

The African Utility Week Awards will furthermore celebrate the industry’s triumphs and successes throughout 2013 in nine award categories, ranging from Utility Executive of the Year to the Best Rural Electrification Project.

Event dates and location:
Conference and Exhibition (including workshops):  13-14 May 2014
Focus day:  12 May 2014
Site visits:  15 May 2014
Location:  CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

Websites:  www.african-utility-week.com ; www.clean-power-africa.com
Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone:  +27 21 700 3558
mobile:  +27 82 562 7844
Email:  annemarie.roodbol@clarionevents.com