By Carolyne Gathuru

In the run up to World Energy Day 2020, The World Energy Day Secretariat has been running online discussion forums dubbed The Energy Professionals Round Table. These are monthly events that are designed as a series of Energy conversations leading up to the World Energy Day Conference 2020 that brings together Energy Professionals from around the continent.

The overarching theme for the World Energy Day Celebrations 2020 is “The Future of Energy in Africa: Innovation |Efficiency |Interoperability” and these discussions are a precursor towards conference papers and resolutions at the conference in October. Three successful round tables have been held on 24th April, 29th May and 26th June respectively with the themes:

  1. The Effect of COVID19 on the Energy Economy in Kenya – that sought to highlight and discuss challenges faced and propose mechanisms for change.
  2. Emerging Considerations for the Energy Sector in Africa – Charting a Path towards the New Normal; that sought to discuss the evolution of the Energy sector, adapting to change and reengineering a positive way forward
  3. Optimizing Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Commercial and Industrial Clients – Catalysts for Growth; that sought to provoke discussion around the role of energy management – both efficiency and clean energy towards delivering corporate and business objectives

Attendance at these events has continued to grow exponentially and has been drawn from a regional audience including Kenya, Tunisia, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa from varied energy sectors including renewables, energy consultancy, Government bodies, academia as well as other non-energy consultancy fields such as accounting and marketing.

Various pertinent and reflective discussions have been held with Energy Professionals challenged to dig deeper and yield positive results for the industry. The overarching objective being delivery on Sustainable Development Goal 7 that aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The discussions have been hinged around 10 key areas including:

  1. The reality of Covid -19 on the ground for energy professionals with specific reference to energy activities
  2. What Energy Professionals must do differently in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Exploration of resilience mechanisms the country can build  to ensure energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives bear minimal setbacks
  4. The changes needed around existing Energy Plans based on the lessons learned so far
  5. The new possibilities for the Energy Sector in Africa Post Covid-19
  6. Key learnings the Energy Sector in Africa must embrace to nimbly adapt to change
  7. New assumptions the energy Sector in Africa must base decision and policy making
  8. Tangible benefits the commercial and Industrial sector reap from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  9. How businesses can embed the energy agenda in their overall Corporate Strategy
  10. Energy Professionals as advocates for inclusion of the energy strategy in the overall strategy by the C-Suite

The Round Table Series has hosted a panel of eminent speakers who have taken time to prepare and share insights and highlight energy matters of importance around the continent. This has cascaded into a series of energy issues being raised, questions asked, innovative ideas highlighted, and ultimately practical action steps deliberated for action. The speaker hall of fame for the three Energy Round Tables held so far include:

Heather McEwan

An energy efficiency expert based is South Africa. She is a certified carbon reduction manager with over 12 professional certifications in energy, carbon and sustainability qualifications.

She bagged the Sub-Saharan Africa Region – Energy Professional Development Award from AEE in October 2019 and the Female Energy Professional of the Year from the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC) in 2018

Andy Amadi

An expert in Environmental, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency based in Kenya. He has over 15 years of experience in the energy sector. For the last 10 years, he has worked as an expert exclusively in environment, renewable energy and energy efficiency-related sectors.

He is a certified energy manager and was among the recipients of The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) 2012 Legends in Energy mark of distinction to qualified professionals

Ayoub Baba

An accomplished energy consultant with over 10 years of broad and deep experience in the energy management and auditing, mineral process and mining operations, cement industry

He is a certified energy manager and Founder and current president of the Association of Energy Engineers Tunisia Chapter

Elvis Ssekate

He the current vice president of Energy Efficiency Association of Uganda (The AEE Uganda Chapter. He is a certified energy manager and a champion of advocating for the development, management, enforcement of and compliance with appropriate standards, codes of practice, regulations and policies that promote energy efficiency in the country.

Olakunle Owoeye

Olakunle Owoeye is an electrical engineer, entrepreneur, and sustainable energy (energy efficiency and renewable energy) evangelist and the founder of Ecowatt Nigeria Limited. He was a Mandela Washington Fellow having focused on developing capacity in energy management and is a current national expert in energy management systems in Nigerian industries.

Lisa Reynolds

The CEO of Green Buildings and Design Group based in South Africa. She is Certified Energy Manager with over 16 years in energy efficiency and interior building. A board member of the South African Energy Efficiency Confederation and has contributed in development of quality standards used to govern energy efficiency and building codes.

Sylvester Makaka

Executive officer and senior energy advisor at Kenya Association of Manufacturers. He is a Certified Energy Manager with a vast experience in industrial energy efficiency programs and energy advocacy spanning over 25 years. He is passionate about energy knowledge skills and transfer in the commercial and industrial sectors

Mark Hankins

The Managing Director of Africa Solar Designs Ltd, an author a consultant advisor for GET. Invest. A pioneer in rural electrification and renewable energy in East and Southern Africa. He has experience in off-grid electrification in over 20 African countries and is a Certified Energy Manager and PV system designer.

These Energy Round Tables have proved to be a valuable resource for energy professionals around the globe with constant requests for different topics and areas of importance to be covered in the upcoming webinars. The webinar series will continue as Energy Professionals congregate with a view to working together towards transforming the energy agenda in this region.

Resource materials for the Energy Professionals Round Table Webinar Reports and Videos available on these links:

World Energy Day Website

YouTube Channel