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The month of May is officially National Energy Month in South Africa. How apt that it overlaps with today’s national elections.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 2019/05/07 – subscribe today

Heightened emotions around the topic of energy in the country have resulted from recurrent episodes of loadshedding, daily news reports on the depth of the public power utility’s crisis, and of course the continuing lack of direction as the Integrated Resource Plan remains unpublished.

In comparison, the focus from government for this year’s Energy Month seems quite lacklustre as it promotes the usual energy efficiency and optimisation strategy, with calls for South Africans to #switchandsave.

The SA Government website, which provides a list of suggested initiatives, appears out of touch with the latest innovation and developments. It doesn’t say much about rooftop solar except for a quick reference to the use of solar thermal systems for water heating. There is no word on the use of digital solutions, such as smart metering, or the incorporation of virtual power stations.

The energy revolution has not yet crept into the corridors of government. However, as South Africans go to voting stations today, they are likely thinking about energy month and utility services (or lack thereof) as they cast (or opt not to cast) their vote.

By the time the national election voting results are out, the country’s Mother City, Cape Town, will be welcoming energy, power and water professionals from across Africa and further afield to the 19th edition of the African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa conference and exhibition.

This event is where Energy Month will shine brightly with energised debates around the challenges and solutions along with the innovative tools to accomplish progress.

As the official host publication, ESI Africa will have all hands on deck at the conference, which covers the full spectrum of the utility market. I invite you to meet with me during a session on Tuesday addressing “Energy leaders’ national dialogue on a ‘Just Energy Transition’ and recommendations to map out the energy future for South Africa through the IRP and other policy guidelines”.  It will prove very interesting and your questions to the panel of experts will be welcomed.

You will not be disappointed with this year’s line-up of conference topics, knowledge hubs, exhibitors, awards ceremony, site visit tours and an Initiate! programme for rising stars. Luckily there is still time to register your attendance.

Until next week. Nicolette