Thursday is the first day of The East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC), with many experts in the energy industry gathering in Nairobi for the four day event. Last year, EAPIC gathered more than 700 participants from 31 countries, including the region’s leading power utilities, large industries and investors as well as 47 technology and service providers who showcased their products at the exhibition.

Africa’s primary source of energy comes from coal-fired power plants and diesel generators, with the continent mostly relying on CO2 heavy production methods. Though several African countries, such as Kenya, have shown significant interest in developing renewable sources of power generation, the continent continues to struggle in the implementation of these plans while also handling current power shortage challenges.

Load-shedding, or ‘rolling blackouts’ have been the most prominent means that Eskom – the South African state electricity utility – have used to deal with both high demand and a lack of capacity, causing strain on South African businesses and homes. As a result, many African companies now use backup diesel generators of their own to provide temporary power while under the effects of the cut-backs. However, the excessive use of diesel fuel also means that its price rises, and much of Africa is now paying more for their electricity than they ever have before.

As Africa’s energy demand rises, one of the key limitations identified in Africa’s lacking power supply is that of ageing infrastructure, especially in the form of transmission lines and distribution processes. Frequent reliability issues and the inadequacy of ageing plants have proven that Africa’s dependency on outdated forms of generation serve to slow down future projects. Numerous delays in the implementation of generation and national/cross-border transmission projects have been caused by difficulties in mobilising funds and obtaining ‘right of way consents’. In other cases, African countries have taken lengthy periods of time to agree on power tariffs.

Many of these challenges are what EAPIC will be directing its focus on this week. State utilities, IPP’s, large power users and regulators will be particularly looking for ways to reduce fuel consumption, decrease CO2 output and improve infrastructure. New solutions and future plans for upgrading existing technology are set to be a significant part of EAPIC’s agenda, with programme director Natalie Bacon stating; “Attendees will pinpoint investment opportunities and best practical solutions at the strategic conference and discover the latest technological advances and services available for the East African market.” (Source: http://www.pr.com/press-release/620613)

Bowman Power Group and our strategic partner, Powertech System Integrators, will be attending the event, and you can find us at stand 304.