Approximately seven million prepaid electricity meters in South Africa need to be reset before November 2024 as the system that runs the credit tokens will run out of numbers at this time and all existing meters will stop accepting credit tokens. The South African metering standards industry body, Standard Transfer Specification Association (STSA), has embarked on an awareness programme to inform utilities to upgrade their vending systems to STS600 and visit each meter in its region to clear the memory and change the meter key before November 2024. Don Taylor, director of STS Association, explains: “the token identifier (TID) is calculated as the number of minutes that have elapsed since a defined base date of 1993 up to the time of creating the token. The TID has a limited range and will run out in November 2024, at which point all existing prepayment meters will stop accepting credit tokens. In order to circumvent this issue, the memory of each meter needs to be cleared of all stored TIDs and its cryptographic key needs to be changed before 2024.” The new range of TIDs will then start from a new base date of 2014 and run out in 2045, thus extending the useful functional life of the meter. “In order to do this key change,” Mr Taylor explains, “it is necessary that each meter has to be physically visited, which can be performed either by dedicated employees of the utility or by the end customer.” Concerned utilities may leave this too late “There is thus a six-year window,” he continues, “within which the utilities have to complete this programme. Because we are concerned that utilities may leave this too late, we are embarking on an awareness programme by reaching out to all STS users and providing a platform that will facilitate technical support and guidance to users during the implementation of the TID rollover programme. We aim to establish a website for this purpose where users can interact by discussion of issues. In addition we are embarking . . .
Solar PV is overwhelmingly seen as the most promising generation source for Africa while corruption, skills gaps and access to finance are some of the biggest challenges that power and water professionals face in their industries. This is according to a survey by the organisers of African Utility Week amongst attendees of the annual event in Cape Town last year. Other questions in the survey included what respondents think will have the biggest impact on the energy and water sectors, what future technology excites them and what the biggest challenges are that they face in their industry. Of the 834 people surveyed, 696 are South African (71%), 199 are from 24 other African countries (63 Kenyan, 85 Nigerian) and 40 from the rest of the world, including Europe, USA, China, India and Canada. Most promising generation source Asked what the most promising source of generation is for Africa, Solar PV scored more than 54% amongst the respondents while nuclear was second with 11%. “The reason could be that rooftop PV, when measured against the other technologies, is easy to execute as a project and photovoltaic modules are becoming very affordable,” says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, editor of the energy trade journal, ESI Africa. She adds: “it is also the most obvious technology to use in mini- and off-grid projects as well as for use in hybrid models. However, what is interesting but not surprising is that 11% of respondents feel that nuclear energy is the most promising generation source. Nuclear has its merits. What is disappointing is how few are in favour of biomass as a promising source of generation capacity, considering that this technology offers a distributed model and a measure of reducing the mounds of waste that Africa’s cities are confronted with. Another concern is the lack of interest in wind energy – only 8% of respondents felt this technology a worthy source; however, it does rank slightly higher than hydro where the continent’s impressive . . .
“Nuclear energy is certainly not any more expensive than any other energy source” says nuclear expert Dr Anthonie Cilliers, explaining that “the large 9600MW nuclear programme has created an impression of a single expensive mega-project, when in fact the purpose of the fleet approach was to drive down costs over time and increase the learning rate. This should be broken up into smaller chunks, for example, should two nuclear reactors be added to the current plant at Koeberg, the cost would be no more than the guarantees already provided by treasury for the current IPP programme, whilst two nuclear reactors would produce more units of electricity per year (and more reliably) than the units on the IPP programme.” He adds: “I agree that South Africa’s fiscus is constrained at the moment, I believe this will change and when it does we need to be prepared. If we cannot afford nuclear new build we cannot afford any new build. We also have to remember that the new IRP has not been gazetted and with an outdated IRP, I find the approval of any energy projects (including nuclear) irrational.” Nuclear Power Africa Dr. Anthonie Cilliers is the National Coordinator of SAN-NEST (South African Nuclear Education, Science and Technology) the R&D Programme Manager: Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand. A regular commentator and speaker at African Utility Week, he returns this year as a panellist during the Nuclear Power Africa conference at the event from 15-17 May in Cape Town. “Nuclear is certainly part of the energy mix in Africa” says Daniel Njoroge Butti, Energy Economist at the Karatina University in Kenya, another expert who will share his views at African Utility Week and asked whether there is appetite for investors to fund nuclear energy projects, he replies: “the definitive answer is YES.” With regards to costs he explains that “in my view, nuclear energy has significantly high initial . . .
The energy sector is a clear winner emerging from the South African cabinet shuffle earlier this week says the editor of the energy trade publication ESI Africa, Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl. She explains: “President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempt to sweep his inherited cabinet clean on Monday night resulted in a watered down compromise to satisfy both party and state interests. However, a clear winner emerging is the energy sector, which can look forward to two ‘new’ faces: Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, known for his deft ability at service delivery and turnaround of state departments, and long-standing cabinet member Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe, renowned for his firm leadership. These placements have shown Ramaphosa’s commitment to ensuring reform at state-owned enterprises and specifically Eskom.” She continues: “assuredly, with these two gentlemen, along with Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s return to Cabinet as the minister of finance, we will see a finalisation of the nuclear build programme (either putting it to bed or giving it a nod) and a formal consultation on the long-overdue integrated resource plan. Another priority area that needs immediate attention is the independent power producers’ outstanding power purchase agreements.” “The damage done to South Africa’s energy market is extensive; however, there is tangible hope in the air. With the likes of Gordhan, Radebe and Nene in the fold, this is a brilliant move by Ramaphosa – who had already shown his mettle at the WEF when commenting on South Africa’s nuclear position – and I’m optimistic that we will see progress at last.” Radebe “to address the mess” Independent energy expert Ted Blom agrees: “it is probably not by accident that President Ramaphosa has appointed one of the most senior ANC members to the portfolio of energy. This sector has been troubled by one scandal after the other, which included the missing billions at Eskom, Mosgas, and the Strategic Oil Fund. Add to this the near . . .
Operating a business without water is an unfathomable thought; however, a very real reality for the industries, agribusiness and commercial operations in and around Cape Town. ESI Africa is hosting a live free-to-attend webinar discussion on Thursday, 8 March 2018, addressing the current water situation in the City of Cape Town, South Africa and the available technologies, strategies and solutions, to overcome the challenge. “The looming Day Zero is not endemic to the City as other areas in South Africa and globally are experiencing drought conditions” says Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl editor of ESI Africa. “What is unique is that if Cape Town does in fact reach Day Zero – the day when taps are turned off - it will be the first major city world-wide to have reached this unimaginable point of no return, the resulting economic impact as agri-business, construction industry, smelters and commercial concerns grind to a halt will be catastrophic.” She adds: “it is imperative that we find alternative means to manage and replenish our water sources, whether this is from groundwater supplies or reducing waste of potable water in the reticulation system – suitable technologies must be explored.” “With the one-hour webinar on 8 March, we will gather large water consumers, water sector professionals, owners of businesses that use water as its main revenue driver, or public sector water professionals to share and gain greater insight into current plans to increase bulk water supply; and what technology solutions are available to implement in their businesses to support water best practice. It is also an opportunity to ask our expert presenters real-time questions.” “Among the concerns raised are the impact this has on commerce and industry, and national plans going forward to better manage bulk water supply,” states Pombo-van Zyl adding that through this webinar global cities and major industrial hubs can learn from Cape Town’s current predicament. The webinar, . . .
Leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser Spintelligent has won four major awards again at the *ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards in Johannesburg which honoured excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent during 2017. The awards are organised by the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO). *ROAR = Respect, Opportunities, Achievement, Recognition African Utility Week, Spintelligent’s flagship energy event for the last 18 years, won two awards: as the Best Trade Exhibition in the 12000+ sqm category, as well as the Best Overall Exhibition for 2017. Agritech Expo Zambia was named the Best African Bound Trade & Consumer Exhibition in the 12000+ sqm category while the Property Buyer Show Gauteng won the award for the Best Consumer Exhibition 6000 sqm and under. “It is humbling to receive such recognition from our peers in the industry” says an elated Spintelligent MD David Ashdown. “We are proud of these projects that make a real difference for our stakeholders in the energy, agriculture and property sectors. It is also a great boost for the whole Spintelligent team.“ He adds: “just like last year, the AAXO ROAR Awards honoured both long-standing events such as African Utility Week and Agritech Expo Zambia, along with a launch show, namely Property Buyer Show Gauteng, which is part of our expanding property portfolio. It shows that we work hard to keep up the standards that our competitive industry requires from us, while also receiving the nod of approval for our newer initiatives.” ROAR Awards: - Best Trade Exhibition 12000+ sqm category: African Utility Week - Best Overall Exhibition: African Utility Week The 18th edition of African Utility Week, the leading pan-African power and water platform, will take place again in Cape Town from 15-17 May and over 7500 decision makers from more than 90 countries to discuss the challenges, solutions and successes in the power, energy and water . . .
The fifth annual African Utility Week Industry Awards has added two new categories to honour excellence in energy or water journalism as well as digitally advanced utilities. The awards gala dinner forms part of the African Utility Week conference and expo taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town from 15-17 May and celebrates pioneering utilities, projects and people in the energy and water industry on the continent during 2017/2018. “The media plays a vital role in the energy and water industries on the continent” says African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff, “not only by its investigative work which exposes the sectors’ challenges and failings, holding stakeholders accountable but also by celebrating the successes and advancements. We invite all journalists who specialise in reporting on energy or water affairs to either nominate themselves or for news and industry organisations to put forward their top choice for the journalist that has covered the sector in an innovative yet objective manner. The category is open to media across the continent.” Another exciting new category in the African Utility Week Industry Awards is the Digital Utility Award. “The African utility of the future is likely to be a fully digital system”, says Evan Schiff, “entrants for this award are utilities and solution providers who are leading the disruption in the market, maximising utility profitability and adapting business models in the evolving digital environment.” The deadline for entries is 2 March 2018. More information and entry forms can be found on the event website: http://www.african-utility-week.com/aboutawards The complete list of 2018 award categories: Individual Awards: - Lifetime Achievement Award The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual for prolonged and consistent achievements who has made a significant contribution to the development and future of the energy or water industries during his or her entire career rather than or . . .
Women are making an invaluable contribution to the power and water industries as reflected by the many ladies amongst the winners of the 2017 African Utility Week Industry Awards that were announced at the CTICC in Cape Town last week. Three of the awards, namely Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Contribution to Power as well as Young Energy Leader Award, were won by women. More than 750 top level power and water professionals attended the fourth edition of the African Utility Week Industry Awards gala dinner which honour pioneering utilities, projects and people in the energy and water industry on the continent. Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant, Zelda la Grange, delivered an inspiring guest keynote address with charming anecdotes of working with and for the legendary anti-apartheid activist and politician. The complete list of winners of the African Utility Week Industry Awards: Lifetime achievement award winner: Helen Tarnoy, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Aldwych International Ltd, United Kingdom, an engineering company that has been involved in some of the most successful independent power projects on the African continent. “I first went to Africa in 1998 and I have never left; so I have almost 20 years of working in the independent power sector in Africa,” Helen said in a pre-recorded video acceptance speech. “I won’t say that it wasn’t a struggle in the beginning, it was. There was a lot of education to be done about how private companies could contribute to the economies of the countries in which they were working by providing sustainable power at an affordable price. That is still what we aim to do today. The difference today is that we are seeing more and more people coming into the market.” Helen has been a passionate devotee to the African power market since her first contact with it in the mid-1990s. Her first major success was to lead the recovery and eventual success of the Songas Gas to Power . . .
Six months of Trump, de-risking renewable energy investments and country project pipelines are just some of the key sessions during the upcoming African Power Finance & Investment Forum that is part of the African Utility Week conference and expo at the CTICC in Cape Town from 16-18 May. Says African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff: “we developed the African Power Finance & Investment Forum in response to a strong demand from investors and project leaders, to provide a unique insider's perspective on the outlook for African energy. The forum will feature expert speakers who will identify the key trends impacting project finance in regional energy markets with updates on and insights into market opportunities, sources of capital, financing instruments and access to project finance.” Some of the leading speakers and sessions at African Power Finance & Investment Forum: African utilities in an upside down world: Dr Jerome Booth, leading expert investor in emerging markets, author of ‘Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World’; Chairman of New Sparta Asset Management; co-founder of Ashmore, UK: “I shall be talking about the failure of finance theory, which has led to massive distortion in risk perceptions and asset allocation globally. This has impeded capital flow to private markets in Africa, to the detriment of both African economies and global savers”. The big three: Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana: Gavin Serkin, Managing Editor, Frontier Funds Consultancy, author of ‘Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow’, UK: “When you compare against the UK and US, most of Africa is doing the right thing! It’s all relative. The biggest opportunities occur where there is opportunity to scale access by consumers to services taken for granted by the rest of the world, and in this respect nowhere comes close to Nigeria.” Courting Capital: All investment dollars are not created equal - Subha Nagarajan, Managing Director for Africa, OPIC, . . .
“I believe the energy sector will go through a big transformation that is going to surprise all of us and the energy sector will finally become ‘cool’!,” says Brian G. Williams, Industry Advisory Director, Utilities Industry, SAP EMEA. The global software giant has joined African Utility Week as a gold sponsor at the conference and exhibition that is taking place from 16-18 May in Cape Town. Brian is a featured speaker in the Transmission & Distribution conference track focusing on “Digital Transformation: What impact will the Internet of Things have on utilities?” Says Brian Williams: “the SAP Africa message at African Utility Week will be that organisations need to focus on becoming a relevant digital utility of the future. SAP will focus on how new technology and big data can be used to significantly improve efficiencies and how the performance of utilities Infrastructure can be optimised, to prolong the asset life span, maximise energy production, minimise downtime and reduce maintenance cost.” He adds: “SAP is investing in all Energy & Natural Resource Industries (utilities, oil & gas, mill & mining & chemicals) and in all African regions (South Africa, Sub-Saharan, Lusophone, North Africa, East and West Africa). We have studied the full map of the 53 African countries where we have identified the regions of high, medium and lower opportunities for transformation in each of the four industries. For instance, in utilities we considered that all countries are potentially capable to transform and use the power of digital, to improve their energy value chain, because every country has an electricity, gas or water champion.” More than 4,500 utility companies in 123 countries are innovating with SAP Solutions. Forty-five of the top 50 utility companies in the world run SAP solutions. Award-winning energy platform The 17th annual African Utility Week will gather over 7000 decision makers from more than 80 countries to source the . . .