16 May 2012

Johannesburg shows its green credentials as it hosts African Utility Week

Submitted by Annemarie Roodbol

The City of Johannesburg will welcome some 5000 power professionals from more than 60 countries for the annual African Utility Week, the continent's largest utility services conference and exhibition, taking place from 21-24 May at Nasrec Expo Centre.

Johannesburg's 2040 vision is to create a world class African city of the future – a vibrant equitable African city, strengthened through its diversity, a city that provides real quality of life; a city that provides sustainability for all its citizens; a resilient and adaptive society.

The city's sustainability cluster is responsible for implementing energy solutions that are supportive of a low carbon infrastructure. The city's flagship projects in waste management and energy conservation solutions will be on display during African Utility Week.

The city's Energy Sector Director in the Infrastructure and Services Department, Thabo Mahlatsi, says the city is serious about diversifying its energy mix to provide total household energy solutions. "Watch this space, we are coming with alternative energy sources that will make Joburg the benchmark to show how best energy resources can be utilised to benefit citizens. Joburg will be the centre of excellence in terms of policy framework, and practical implementation of low carbon economic infrastructure that will be the benchmark for all municipalities in the country and even internationally," he said.

Waste to energy project
The City of Johannesburg has embarked on a first for the country, setting up a waste to energy facility through a private partnership project, which should be operational by 2015. Palesa Mathibeli, Senior Project Manager, Alternative Waste Treatment Technology Projects for the city, will explain at African Utility Week how easy it was to get institutional support for the project.

"There are various benefits for the city", says Palesa, "We will be reducing a lot of waste going to landfills which are under a lot of pressure. We envisage that 500,000 tonnes of waste per year will be processed this way. The facility will produce 60-75 megawatts of renewable energy per day," she said. Revenue from the sale of by-products such as recyclable waste, heat and bioenergy will be generated while there is the potential for the City of Johannesburg to earn carbon credits.

African Utility Week delegates will be able to experience renewable and cleaner energy projects in Johannesburg, such as:

• Pikitup - the City of Johannesburg's official waste management service provider manages the collection and disposal of 1.4 million tons of domestic waste generated by the city's 3.2 million citizens every year. This entity is focussing on broadening its separation at source pilot project citywide.

• Landfill Gas to Energy Clean Development Mechanism Project uses methane gas produced by the biodegradation of waste, as fuel to run generators which generate renewable electricity into the municipal grid.

• Mpact Recycling processes 450 000 tonnes of paper per year.

• Soweto Infrastructure Upgrade and Rehabilitation Project forms part of the City of Johannesburg's infrastructure renewal programme, and aims to combat the problems associated with ageing and incomplete water infrastructure in Soweto.

• The Johannesburg Zoo has a 4kW solar PV system, biogas digester at the restaurant and solar powered fence for the cheetah enclosure.

• The ABSA Towers West building was constructed with the environmental priorities of bringing about a reduction in the consumption of energy, water and materials, and reducing carbon emissions.

• The Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Centre is the first ever 6-star Green Star SA rated building in South Africa.

• Util Labs is offering a unique site visit where delegates will get the opportunity to experience, interact with and learn about a real fully functional real time smart grid.

• Kusile Power Station which is the second most advanced coal-fired power plant project in Eskom and is still under construction. It will be the first power station in South Africa to have Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) installed.

African Utility Week returns to Johannesburg
"We have come full circle in a way", says African Utility Week director Claire Volkwyn, "our first metering and power event that was to develop into the phenomenon that African Utility Week is today, took place in Johannesburg in 2000. We have been part of the energy discussion on the continent ever since." For the first time since then, the hitherto primarily Cape Town-based African Utility Week, or AUW as it is known by everyone in the industry, returns to Johannesburg at the Nasrec Expo Centre with some 5000 power professionals expected to visit the 10 000 m² of exhibition space.

Says Claire Volkwyn: "thanks to the support of stakeholders such as the Department of Energy, City of Joburg and Eskom over the years, we continue to gather utilities, regulators and service providers to network, discuss, argue and plan for the future of this continent. It is the only way forward."

The exhibition will feature the latest local and global technologies available to utilities today and brings together key manufacturers and service providers from around the world. Conference tracks will focus on Metering, Renewables, Water, Large Industry, Infrastructure Investment, Transmission & Distribution/Smart Grids, Generation and Waste Management.

Event dates
Exhibition: 21-23 May 2012
Conference: 22-23 May 2012
Pre-conference workshops: 21 May 2012
Site visits: 24 May 2012

Website: www.african-utility-week.com

Event location:
Nasrec Expo Centre, Johannesburg

For more information
Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Tel. +27 21 700 3558
Fax. +27 21 700 3501
Mobile: +27 82 562 7844
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