Industry gathers to discuss opportunities in energy


Francios Viljoen, director at Cresco Project Finance

Engineers, consultants, and business leaders in the South African energy and financial sectors recently gathered to discuss projects and investment opportunities on the horizon across Africa. The Africa Power Round Table was hosted in Johannesburg by DLO Energy Resources Group on 1 and 2 February 2017, and was kicked off by Cresco director, Francios Viljoen, who gave attendees a rough glimpse of Africa’s power sector.

VIljoen took the crowd through the current challenges in the industry, predicting that 2017 will be a difficult year due to uncertainty in the local market, the reluctance of Eskom to sign further PPAs, and the resulting lack of investment. However, he also commended the efforts that have been underway in improving transmission across the Southern Africa Power Pool, which he said is notoriously difficult and expensive. He also mentioned the large scale projects across all technologies that have been developed by the private sector and utilities. Most exciting, said Viljoen, has been the development of the off-grid sector which he hopes will be a big growth sector in the years to come. He ended off by saying that what South Africa really needs is a clear policy and guidance for private sector development which he predicts would generate more interest in the market.

The programme continued on to a panel discussion around the opportunities for investment in the local gas to power programme. Webber Wentzel’s John Smelcer led the panel in exploring project developments throughout Africa, as well as the challenges of operating in developing countries. Funding requirements and government policies were a large focus of the session – a theme which continued into the other panel discussions which took place over the two day event. Other topics which were addressed at the Round Table included investment opportunities in Southern Africa, East and West Africa, the off-grid sector, and opportunities for local developers and women in the energy sector.

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Source: EE plublishers

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