Africa Energy Indaba 2014 provided a platform for robust discussions between private and public sector energy players on finding suitable energy solutions for Africa.
Johannesburg, February 25, 2014 – The 6th Africa Energy Indaba, which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 18 - 20th February, attracted over 400 South African, African and global energy leaders to what is the leading energy conference on the continent. Africa Energy Indaba 2014 provided a platform for robust discussions between private and public sector energy players on finding suitable energy solutions for Africa.
Adopted by the World Energy Council (WEC) as its African regional event, presented by the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) and supported by the African Union and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, delegates were exposed to energy discussions at the highest levels.
The Gauteng Growth & Development Agency has a strategic partnership with the Africa Energy Indaba. GGDA CEO, Siphiwe Ngwenya commented on this year's event, "Our mandate as the Gauteng Growth & Development Agency is to be the premier catalyst for innovation, business growth and socio-economic development within the Southern Africa region. It is therefore important that Gauteng Province hosts world class business events and conferences that bring world leaders to Gauteng, to catalyse business deals, spark new partnerships and drive business growth in the region. The 2014 Africa Energy Indaba solidified Gauteng's status as a world class African city. Over 400 national and international energy experts and professionals came together to plan Africa's energy landscape for the next 10 years and beyond."
Energy Minister, Dikobe Ben Martins opened the 2014 Energy Indaba and told delegates that Parliament had been instructed to "fast-track" proposed legislation to level the playing field between utility Eskom and independent power producers. He further made the bold statement that Eskom could not be "player, referee and linesman".
Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council, the largest non-aligned energy body in the world, attended the event and remarked: "I have seen first-hand how the Africa Energy Indaba has been able to bring policymakers and business leaders together to act on the goals of accelerating energy access in a sustainable way, and I am pleased that positive steps have been taken during the meeting to build a new consensus for the region. The World Energy Council stands united with African leaders to support the continent's drive to deliver the necessary policy, regulatory, and market environments for sustainable development."
Africa's wealth of energy resources and untapped potential was highlighted at the conference, as was the need for more enablers that can unlock energy access for the broader population and new markets. The event brought together these enablers, whilst also investing in the next generation of energy leaders through the World Energy Council's Future Energy Leaders' Programme.
"The Africa Energy Indaba has its own energy about it. Six years strong, it gets better and better making it the most authentic African Energy conference on the planet," said Greg Nott, Africa Energy Indaba steering committee member.
Emerging from the discussion on the results from the 2014 WEC Issues Monitor, it was clear that the role of governments is the most critical component in solving energy challenges.
The discussion on the ‘energy trilemma' (the three challenges of energy security, social equity and environmental impact mitigation) highlighted the challenges for Africa in providing reliable, equitable and affordable electricity access with minimum impacts on the environment. MEC for infrastructure Development, Ms Qedani Mahlangu joined international energy gurus in calling for a global paradigm shift to achieve a sustainable solution to the 'energy trilemma'. MEC Mahlangu said, "We need to move beyond business as usual. The energy trilemma is more poignant to developing countries within the African continent than ever before; we need to develop energy policies which decisively address the conflicting challenges of energy security, social equity and environmental sustainability - we need a cohesive solution".
Dave Wright, member of the African Energy Indaba steering committee highlighted two important points that emerged during the VIP, invitation-only Energy Leaders' Dialogues Session, which was co-hosted by Eskom's Brian Dames and WEC's Secretary General Christoph Frei. "More work needs to be done to understand what the South African shale gas resource is capable of (how big it is, and how much gas it can produce). Secondly, the development of the shale gas resources (if it is worth it) will take much longer than it has in the US because all the associated infrastructure will need to be put in place," said Wright.
Demetri Pappadopoulos, Special Adviser at Cennergi, a key sponsor of the event, was very positive: "It was great to see the growth and increase in attendance of the event. The quality of the sessions was very high and we can see the event maintaining its flagship status as the leading energy conference on the continent," said Pappadopoulos.
"As an organisation sponsoring and participating, we were encouraged to see the discussion contents widening, especially when it comes to shale gas. A lot of misinformation was dispelled, and it's evident that the disparate parties have come closer together through the Africa Energy Indaba," he said.
For more information, visit www.africaenergyindaba.com..