By Oke Peter
In its resolve to proffer a workable solution to the persistent power problems in African nations in the 21st century, EnergyNet Limited has taken it upon itself to bear the responsibility of making positive impacts in the power sector by organising relevant summits across the world to draw stakeholders’ attention to the sector. These conferences are focused on the development of the sector in the area of gas, renewable energy and mini-grid as well as an avenue where reasonable business investment matters are discussed with major stakeholders in attendance; including regulatory bodies, foreign investors, corporate organisations, individuals and government representatives brainstorming on how to develop power sector in Africa and beyond.
With over 23 years experience in coordinating a global portfolio of power and industrial sectors deliberations across various continent of Africa, Europe, the United State of America (USA) and China to facilitate investment summits and conferences and platform, through which many international investors build relationships with credible African public sector stakeholders, power technology providers, technical advisors, financial institutions, institutional investors, power project developers, construction companies, contractors and operators, energy companies, law firms, consultants and professional services among others has recorded remarkable success.
The team spends over 220 days a year travelling to meet stakeholders across Africa and Latin America, engaging decision makers and technical directors behind the world’s most exciting economies and has also brought many countries of the world together to form remarkable opinions that have been used in policy formulation in power sector at various levels in many countries. Some of the workshops are well thought-out to accommodate industry experts through a leadership package by creating standard exposure and visibility through branding opportunities and develop relationships with new ones through a hosted function or networking opportunities packaged to suit different requirements and budgets. It has also enabled prospective delegates to leverage on business opportunities within the market and support strategic aims and objectives as well as presenting biggest financial brains in the industry to provide tangible solutions to financing models for existing projects.
The organisation is owned and supported globally by the UK’s largest conference and exhibitions organisation, Clarion Events, with vast resources and over 500 people covering defence, energy and utilities in Brazil, Germany, London, New York, San Francisco, South Africa, Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Singapore. All these are committed to providing global insights and local partnerships.
In ensuring its corporate social responsibility, EnergyNet has invested in numbers of investments that have positively enhanced citizens’ live. For instance, in its effort to build Nigeria’s most respected energy and infrastructure conference, a share of the revenue generated is invested directly into the ‘Not Just Talking Fund for Energy Access’ and this fund is used in sponsoring of trainings and networking programmes for Nigerian students through the EnergyNet’s Student Engagement Initiative (ESEI) and off-grid investments into proof of concept projects for members of the ‘Off the Grid Club.’ The fund has been of great help in building a 15KW micro-grid in Sierra Leone in partnership with Solektra International.
Considering the place of youth in nation’s development, over the last three years, EnergyNet has financed about 63 students to travel to international conferences in Beijing, Washington, Istanbul, Dubai and London. These students have been equipped with relevant training programmes and workshops that have led to 38 of them being employed or on graduate training programmes with international businesses like Aggreko, Norton Rose Fulbright and Engie.
Interestingly, in recognition of EnergyNet’s contributions to the growth of power sector recently, Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded the organisation its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category International Trade, the highest accolade for the United Kingdom commercial businesses. The award was made on the advice of the UK Prime Minister Theresa May for EnergyNet’s ‘Outstanding Short Term Growth and Social Responsibility Agenda’ across Africa.
The organisation’s contribution in organising the popular Africa Energy Forum, which has facilitated various investment forums in emerging markets for the last quarter of a century in Africa, Europe, North America, China and Latin America, running to support the world’s most credible investors in a rapidly changing economies. The award also recognises EnergyNet’s outstanding short-term growth within a three-year period as well as their social responsibility efforts within Africa and the £200,000 invested through the company’s ‘Not Just Talking Fund’ into energy-related projects to aid the lives of Africans.
EnergyNet’s Managing Director, Simon Gosling, in his acceptance speech said: “It was incredible to be recognised by the Prime Minister and H.R.M Queen Elizabeth II in 2014, but to receive this recognition for a second time [by a different Prime Minister] this year (2017) is an extraordinary achievement for us, and one that reflects the seriousness with which the whole EnergyNet’s team take our responsibilities to serve the world’s leading companies and the most exciting growing economies across the world.”
Following an initial investment into a solar off-grid project for a primary school in South Africa in 2016, EnergyNet’s second project investment is targeting a micro grid in Sierra Leone. The investment in partnership with Solektra International, the company co-founded by Senegalese US Hip Hop superstar Akon, Samba Bathily and Thione Niang. EnergyNet and Solektra are working with the Barefoot Woman Solar Engineer Association of Sierra Leone (BWSEASL) to appoint a female entrepreneur to take ownership of the project within the local community.
Best known for the Africa Energy Forum, the longest running meeting place for senior level decision makers in Africa’s power sector taking place in Europe each year, EnergyNet also produces in-country investment meetings in Africa which provide a more detailed perspective on the investment landscape and power generation potential of countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana Ethiopia, South Africa, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire & Morocco. The organization also recently launched the Growing Economies Series — a portfolio of meetings which focus on energy investments in Latin America’s power sector, in particular Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Panama and Brazil.
Nigeria remains the single largest market/opportunity on the continent, where the ration of people without consistent energy access span a void so wide that bridge it will be written into the history books as the father of Africa’s industrial revolution. Access to energy eases social and political stability, create jobs and economic opportunities and generate remarkable wealth beyond what is presently obtainable.
Credit to the support and commitment of many Nigeria’s stakeholders in the power sector, including the Managing Director of Dell A’more Consultancy Services Limited, Alhaji Idris Muhammed, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a leading Africa energy finance organisation that works with the private sector to maximize access to energy by developing electricity generation and transmission projects while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
The corporation has financed more than 350 power projects in over 65 countries and supported 35,000 megawatts of generation capacity. EnergyNet’s team are still working day and night with relevant stakeholders in making power projects a reality in Africa nations and beyond thereby building strong reputation among decision-makers that can directly support business aspirations, employment and corporate social responsibility.
By attending an EnergyNet Forum or meeting, you’ll only meet people relevant to major power and industrial projects, including; national and local government, industrial cluster and free trade zones, major power users such mining, ports and international shipping companies as well as the legal, finance and technical solution providers behind many of Africa’s and Latin America’s power projects. EnergyNet has proved over the last 18 years that by remaining focused, committed you can build a network that can find solutions in the most challenging of environments – “It’s all about what you know and who you know!”
Oke Peter is the publisher of Energy Worth.