African Utility Week director Claire Volkwyn says the recent launch of the Green Climate Fund at COP17 in Durban will impact quite significantly on the generation sector in particular. "The South African government is very committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases," Claire explains, "and with the introduction of the Carbon Tax, companies that produce high emissions will be penalised for these. At the present time, it is only Eskom that is subject to an emissions tax, but this will start impacting other industries too. The effects will be both positive and not so positive, but ultimately, we need to be aware of cause and effect in all of our dealings with our environment going forward."
Eskom key partner
African Utility Week, the largest utility gathering on the continent, had a strong presence at COP17 in preparation for its May 2012 event in Johannesburg, which is expected to draw more than 5000 participants and visitors from all over Africa to its conference sessions and exhibition. Eskom will once again be an important partner at the event according to Claire Volkwyn: "I am thrilled that we have confirmed both Eskom and the City of Johannesburg, including City Power, Johannesburg Water and Pickitup as official participants to African Utility Week."
She continues: "Eskom have been a key partner for us for many years and we are pleased to continue this partnership with them as our host utility for 2012. Our relationship with the City of Johannesburg is equally important to us and we hope that this will be the first year in a long and engaging relationship. Our aim, as always with African Utility Week, is to increase knowledge, empower our utility sector and encourage information sharing across the continent."
Focus on renewable energy
The event will have a strong focus on renewable energy and once again be well supported by the green energy sector. According to the African Utility Week director, this is an exciting time in the development of renewable energy in South Africa: "we have seen the recent announcement of the first 28 preferred bidders for the renewable energy programme and this will provide some 1 400MW of power to the South African grid from wind and solar projects. This is just the first part of an extensive renewable energy programme, which plans for some 3 700MW of renewable energy as part of the Integrated Resource Plan for South Africa."
Says Claire Volkwyn: "Africa needs to develop its power infrastructure in order to continue pushing economic development. Many countries in Africa are already pursuing a cleaner, greener strategy for development within the power sector and we must continue to do so with vigour."
African Utility Week will focus on all aspects of the energy sector on the continent with dedicated tracks on: Metering, Renewables, Water, Large Industry, Infrastructure Investment, Transmission & Distribution/Smart Grids, Generation and Waste Management.
Conference: 22-23 May 2012
Exhibition: 21-23 May 2012
Pre-conference workshops: 21 May 2012
Site visits: 24 May 2012
Event location: Expo Centre, Johannesburg