AEF: Abuzz with energy and interest in South Africa
This week, the energy sector has gathered in Dubai for the annual African Energy Forum (AEF), which covered sessions on the latest trends and developments in the African power sector.
Keeping the discussions relevant to current affairs, the proceedings included topics on the energy capacity required to drive economic and social growth, exploring new frontier markets, Africa’s relationship with the Middle East, China and Canada; an update on the US government’s Power Africa initiative and a regulators’ roundtable.
Special interest in South Africa
Karen Breytenbach, Head of IPP Programme, National Treasury South Africa and ESI Africa special correspondent at the AEF said that with South Africa implementing a gas to power programme in the next six months there has been considerable interest in the country from participants.
“There is a lot of interest in South Africa and in the gas programme. We are running a request for information and here at the AEF so many people are talking about it. We really hope that when the tender documents go out that we receive a good response”, Breytenbach told us in a telephone conversation on Wednesday.
Breytenbach also stated that coal remains an important generation technology as the country has a need for base-load generation supported by coal fired power plants.
Themes that emerged from the discussions included:
- The power sector must be commercially driven – Minister of Power, Ghana
- Regional integration, transmission and electricity infrastructure are key to development
- Ministers are already collaborating together to achieve a common objective – which has to be project lead – to drive energy access
African energy winners
The inaugural Power in Africa awards were held on the first evening of the event with the guest list including the ‘who’s who’ of the African power sector with over 300 attendees from across Africa as well as major investors from USA, China and the UAE all in attendance.
The winners in the ten categories are as follows:
- African MegaWatt Leader Award: Globeleq
- The Investors Spirit of Africa Award: Standard Chartered Bank
- Power in Africa Sustainability in Action Award sponsored by ENGIE (GDF Suez): Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN)
- African Utility Leadership Award sponsored by Lekela: Kenya Electricity Generating Company, Kenya
- Regulator of the Year Award for Excellence sponsored by Engro Power Services: EWURA, Tanzania
- Kick-Off Award for Development Finance: IFC
- APO Energy Media Award: Kofi Abu Domfeh
- Energy Photograph of the Year: Submitted by Chaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global Rwanda; Photographer Ido Herman
- Student of the Year Award in conjunction with the EnergyNet Student Engagement Initiative: Marek Raciborski
- Lifetime Achievement Award: HE Hon Dr Salvador Namburete, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Mozambique
APO Energy Media Award winner
An exciting initiative implemented by EnergyNet and the African Press Organisation that recognises excellence in energy reporting. The winner, Kofi Adu Domfeh’s report entitled ‘Future Concern is No Longer About Energy Security But Climate Change’ stood out for the quality of the reporting, and the depth of analysis into Ghana’s efforts to diversify from fossil fuels and address climate change. Domfeh’s report also gave voice to the many opinions of African experts and advocates in the energy sector.