East African Power Industry Convention held in Nairobi, Kenya was a success

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The 16th East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) that took place in Nairobi in September 3rd and 4th has proven that it is still the most important gathering for quality discussions on where the power sector in the region is going. We look forward to taking the event to the next level next year with a strong push towards a much larger exhibition model.  This is according to East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) programme director, Irene Ochem.

She adds that there was “general consensus at East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) about the need to increase generation, update transmission and distribution networks, reduce cost of generation, increase access to rural dwellers, improve efficiency, capacity building and customer service, as well as having an appropriate power generation mix. There is also a need for more reforms and improved regulation, coordinated and enhanced regional efforts to ensure regional power interconnection and integration.”

Reaffirmation of commitment to East Africa

EAPIC gathered more than 700 participants from 31 countries, including from the region’s leading power utilities, large industries and investors as well as 47 technology and service providers who showcased their products on the exhibition.  Kenyan utilities KENGEN, Kenya Power, KETRACO and the Ministry of Energy were key partners again in what is the longest running power conference and expo in East Africa. Large East African utilities such as Tanesco, UEGCL, UMEME and Rwanda Energy Group (EEG) were also present again this year.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Siemens were some of the global technology and service giants in the utility sphere who were there.  “We have been in Africa for more than 150 years”, says Zamani Mbatha, Sector Communication lead for Siemens South Africa, “we have been active in the continent on all aspects of energy value chain.

Our sponsorship of the EAPIC conference reaffirms our commitment to the East African region and through our regional experience, global network of technological expertise; we are ready to support and to partner with all stakeholders involved. We are indeed happy to be a part of this successful event. We are on a long journey of delighting our customers beyond expectation and from the feedback we gathered, we enhance our strategies to compliment the progress to date.”

Pending energy investments

EAPIC programme director Irene Ochem says “our programme content was spot-on and topical, clearly mirroring high-profile and quality expert and professional perspectives of the region’s power industry developments, growth and investment opportunities and potential.”

Last year, the East Africa Community revealed a $64-billion dollar spending plan on joint power projects in the region for the next 25 years to generate eight times more power than is currently available. This presents massive opportunities to all the stakeholders in the region’s energy sector, says East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) conference director Irene Ochem: “it also shows a marked rise in confidence that the region has in itself and EAPIC has shown that it is serious about meeting its energy commitments.”

Programme highlights included Uganda Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development, Simon D’Ujanga’s presentation, highlighting Uganda’s ambitious goals of increasing electrification to at least 70 percent from its current 15 (the lowest in the region), and creating a robust renewable energy environment. He pointed out the various opportunities for investment that currently exist within the sector in the country.

Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, representing the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Kenya, Davis Chirchir, updated the audience on the ongoing implementation of Kenya’s ambitious exercise of adding 5000MW into the national grid and increasing generation from renewable sources with particular attention to geothermal power. He discussed the energy implications for Kenya’s Vision 2030 initiative, a plan of action that will support clean, sustainable, affordable, competitive and secure energy supply. An executive roundtable discussion explored the giant energy leaps gaining ground in the region and the key challenges, including access to finance and risk mitigation, private sector involvement and regional power capacity building.

2015 and beyond          

During the general closing session, and looking beyond 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals, East African utility leaders took stock and came to the conclusion that there is not yet sufficient energy for development as poverty is yet to be eradicated. Irene Ochem: “all countries, however, agreed that the region has enormous and enough energy resources to fuel and transform the economy, guided by their different national visions and ambitious plans.”

The expo offered free practical workshops to help the industry and large power users improve efficiency and productivity. Finally, a site visit to Kenya’s and Africa’s largest geothermal plant, Olkaria, meant delegates gained insights and knowledge  into the exploration, drilling and operation of geothermal energy as a more cost-effective and cleaner energy option for the region.

Next year the expo component of the East African Power Industry Convention is expected to grow significantly and the event will move to a larger, more expo-focused venue, namely the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi and take place from 27-28 August.

Some more feedback from satisfied exhibitors and attendees at EAPIC:

·         “It has been a great experience and an opportunity not only to understand the state of the power sector but also to meet with and interact with the leaders and drivers in the industry. I also got the opportunity to meet contacts for manufacturers and suppliers of power equipment.” – James Gitau, Senior Engineer, Safety, Health & Environment, Kenya Power, Kenya

·         “EAPIC 2014 was the first for Yingli Africa, the event was worth our investment! Attendance to the event was higher than I anticipated, both for meeting some of our local contacts as well as generating new contacts within the region to further grow our footprint and gain an understanding of the market. I look forward to an even more successful event in 2015!” – Christopher Steinbach, MD, Yingly Green Energy Sub Saharan African, Africa, South Africa

·         “Very exciting and eye opening on other renewable energy resources and technologies in the region.” – William Liabunya, Senior Manager, Escom, Malawi

·         “This was a unique opportunity to meet many senior people, both from the utility side and the investors.” – Jef Vincent, Chief Underwriting Officer, The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), Kenya

·         “The content and quality of the subject matter was excellent and informative.” – Eng J.M. Kamaru, Ministry of Environment, Water and Material Resources, Kenya

·         “It was very refreshing and an eye opener on the current power sector challenges in the region.” – Simon Kirui, KENGEN

·         “As a Kenyan used to daily political noises pro and counter, this Convention was a confidence booster that plans are in place and technocrats are busy seeing to it that power improvements (provision) is in the next few years.” – Stephen M. Muriithi, NKG Coffee Mills, Kenya

·         “Made good contacts at the exhibition which will go a long way in my current mandate.” – Solomon K. Kariuki, KENGEN.