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SAIREC: renewables working together in Africa

Richard Taylor, chief executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), will deliver a keynote presentation during the sixth International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC), which will take place on 4–7 October in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape TownThe keynote presentation will be delivered in the Technology Innovation: Hydro/Ocean session on Tuesday 6 October at 2:30–4:00pm. It will outline key issues and opportunities for the hydropower sector, such as the benefits of multipurpose projects and the important role which hydropower, as a storage technology, can play in securing reliable energy systems.

It will also address how developing the untapped hydropower potential in Africa can increase access to electricity and bolster energy security across the continent, especially if hydropower is developed together with other renewable sources.

Hydropower is notably well-suited to balance the variable supply of other renewable technologies because of the speed at which hydropower plants can bring power online, and because of hydropower’s unique capabilities as an electricity storage technology.

Renewables integration

IHA is also co-hosting a side event at SAIREC, Renewables Working Together, which will take place on Monday 5 October at 1:00 – 2:30pm. This event will explore how different renewable technologies can complement each other to provide secure and reliable energy systems, with particular reference to the African continent.

Five international renewable energy technology organisations, under the umbrella of the REN Alliance, will come together to present case studies and best practices, drawing on examples from Africa. Three case studies will be presented to explore the policy, financial and technical considerations in achieving robust hybrid renewable energy systems.

This year’s event comes in the wake of increased international commitment to developing and increasing access to sustainable sources of energy."

In the first case study, wind and solar hybrid systems in Mali and Senegal will demonstrate how renewables are bringing electrification to off-grid communities in West Africa.

Secondly, the combination of geothermal and biomass sources in Kenya will be examined to explore how renewables integration can work at a national scale.

Finally, the Eastern Africa Power Pool, which is connecting substantial hydropower, geothermal and wind development in various countries, will demonstrate renewable synergies at the regional scale.

Reliable and sustainable energy for all

SAIREC is hosted by the South African government, together with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), of which IHA is a steering committee member.

It is the sixth in a series of International Renewable Energy Conferences which look toward achieving a 100 per cent renewable energy supply during the 21st century.

The conference brings together government ministers, high level decision makers, civil society, academia and the private sector to discuss strategies for increasing and improving the global deployment of renewable energy technologies.

This year’s event comes in the wake of increased international commitment to developing and increasing access to sustainable sources of energy. In 2014, the UN General Assembly proposed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes a dedicated goal to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

Globally, 1.3 billion people still lack access to reliable, modern energy services, including 625 million in sub-Saharan Africa.

You can find out more about SAIREC and the 2015 programme here.

You can find out how to watch a live stream of the keynote presentation on Periscope here.

You can read the SAIREC issues paper on hydropower, produced by IHA and the Hydro Equipment Association, here.