World Bank to report back at African Utility Week 2016

“The water-energy nexus is complex and wide-ranging”

A study in South Africa that forms part of the World Bank’s Thirsty Energy Initiative has found that major inter-basin transfers support water for power in South Africa. “These transfers play a critical role in the power sector in the country,” says Dr Diego J. Rodriguez, Senior Economist at the World Bank, “and you see that water from different basins can end up supplying the water needs of a particular energy area”.

Launched in January 2014, Thirsty Energy is an initiative that promotes sustainable water and energy resource management by working with governments and partners globally. “We are currently working in South Africa, China and Morocco” Dr Rodriguez explains, “to integrate water constraints into the energy sector and better address water and energy challenges to ensure a sustainable development of energy resources”.

He adds: “our work in South Africa incorporated water constraints into an existing energy model and examined the tradeoffs with other water users. The exercise revealed many interesting results.”

These include that once the true costs of water supply are incorporated into the energy model, the model chooses dry cooling for most coal power plants. “Therefore,” says Dr Rodriguez, “dry cooling makes economic sense in South Africa even if it decreases the efficiency of the power plant. Bringing the true costs of supply water to the sector increases the costs of the system.”

Energy-water nexus

The leading World Bank energy-water nexus expert returns to African Utility Week in Cape Town in May as a featured speaker and panel moderator in the event’s water conference. Says Dr Rodriguez: “I look forward to discussing the findings from Thirsty Energy’s work in South Africa and how integrating water into energy modeling reveals profound connections between the resources, and changes the energy outcomes and operational decisions.”

He continues: “the water-energy nexus is complex and wide-ranging. Water and energy affect all other sectors, are critical to the economy and human wellbeing. In order to ensure water and energy access for all, the resources will have to be managed in an integrated manner to capitalize on efficiencies and synergies. Coordinating management will increase sustainability in the future and reduce vulnerability to resource scarcity or price fluctuations. Solutions should be grounded in country-specific contexts instead of remaining at the global level so that they account for important nuances in politics, economics, and governance. We have to acknowledge the complexity of the issue at stake and how tackling the problem through collaborative approaches can help us all achieve water, energy and food security.”

African Utility Week
Water resource management will form an important part of the programme of the 16th African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and trade exhibition that returns to Cape Town from 17-19 May 2016 – gathering some 6000 engineers, stakeholders and solution providers from around the globe.

The event will feature 250 exhibitors, 250 speakers, a six stream strategic conference, a free-to-attend technical conference on the expo floor, three high-profile keynote sessions, technical site visits and the coveted industry awards gala dinner. The African Utility Week Industry Awards also include categories for African Water Executive and Water Utility of the Year where pioneering water utilities and innovative projects for saving water are recognised and celebrated.

The trade exhibition will be free when registering in advance and showcase water and energy saving technologies and services for the industry and feature hands-on demonstrations and CPD-accredited technical workshops on the exhibition floor.

African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. The event forms part of a global energy event series, including European Utility Week, Australian Utility Week, Asian Utility Week and Latin American Utility Week. Other African flagship events in Spintelligent’s power portfolio are East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC), West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC), iPAD Rwanda Power & Mining Investment Forum and iPAD Cameroon Energy & Infrastructure Forum.

Dates for African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa 2016:

Conference and expo: 17-19 May 2016
Awards gala dinner: 18 May 2016
Site visits: 20 May 2016
Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa


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Communications Manager: Annemarie Roodbol
Telephone: +27 21 700 3558