Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis chatting with Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe before opening the African Energy Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Picture: SUpplied

By Kristin Engel

Cape Town – The Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) started on Monday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Speakers and luminaries from the energy sector gathered for the three-day event to discuss, debate and seek solutions to enable adequate energy generation.

Expert advice and insight was shared regarding the opportunities available in the just transition to renewable energy – all in the hope of addressing the challenge of energy poverty.

CEO of the SA Electrotechnical Export Council, Chiboni Evans, said: “As Africans, the response we present to resolve Africa’s energy deficit must always reflect the underlying socio-developmental impact of energy access and the need for reliable and sustainable energy generation to allow for accelerated industrial and economic growth.”

With this in mind, Evans said the event focused on renewable energy companies, particularly the small, medium and micro enterprises that had supported major wind and solar projects through the supply of components and the rendering of maintenance and other engineering services.

The AEI partnered with the City for this event and said the City remained at the helm of the nation’s climate strategy, having underscored renewable energy utilisation in its quest to minimise the impacts of climate change

In opening the AEI, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis focused on the importance of energy security and the City’s plans to achieve this as quickly and sustainably as possible – especially as residents continued to suffer because of unreliable, unsustainable and unaffordable electricity.

“The City is working hard towards bringing down the cost of electricity over time through its Independent Power Producers (IPP) procurement project.

“This project will allow the City to purchase electricity from IPPs at a rate far below Eskom’s, and pass this saving on to its customers,” he said.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, after giving this project his support, delivered his keynote address and said despite the abundance of individual energy resources across the continent, including mineral resources that were catalytic for a low carbon and environmentally sustainable world, energy poverty still prevailed.

“We need to continuously share ideas on how we can collectively accelerate Africa’s energy sector development to be at the core of all socio-economic development, and of continental growth and development,” Mantashe said.

He called for Africa to define its own just energy transition that would economically empower and enable the continent to grow with its own agenda and execution.

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