The fifth annual Africa Energy Indaba will showcase the latest technologies in the energy sector. The exhibition opens on 19 February.
There is a growing interest in natural gas as an energy source in South Africa. The National Planning Commission has pointed out that South Africa has an ample supply of domestic gas, and government recently lifted the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo.
Gauteng minister for infrastructure development, Qedani Mahlangu is expected to open the exhibition. Liz Hart, managing director of the Africa Energy Indaba, said this support from the provincial leaders demonstrates the significance of the energy sector.
“We are moving decisively into the green energy space, and will over the next few years take bold decisions and undertake ambitious projects that will reduce our carbon footprint, improve the energy efficiency of government buildings and public facilities such as schools, clinics, and hospitals,” said Hart.
The Gauteng department of infrastructure development has shown an interest in pursuing sustainable alternatives for energy generation and infrastructure, particularly in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Among the department’s flagship green projects is a scheme to gradually replace coal and diesel powered hospital boilers with natural gas powered boilers, in order to reduce emissions.
A “trigeneration power plant” – a natural gas-fuelled power plant that will fulfill the hospital’s energy, steam, hot water, cooling and heating needs – is also set to be piloted at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital.
It’s anticipated that this will reduce the hospital’s energy bills and even provide the option of selling excess electrical power generated back to the national grid.
With electricity prices expected to rise steeply – Eskom has asked for a 16% increase in electricity prices each year for the next five years – a switch to gas could mean lower costs and lower emissions.