PowerGrid Europe – Convenes in Cologne

by Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor

The 2009 POWERGRID Europe conference and exhibition is focused on meeting the energy challenge that utilities, vendors, consumers and regulators face as Europe struggles to interconnect and upgrade electric infrastructure. With the addition of renewable energy, the development and maintenance of a smart grid that can communicate and heal itself is all the more important to keeping the lights on and adding renewable power as a regular, relied-on generation source.

This year’s event will be May 26-28 in Cologne, Germany. Delegates and visitors will have access to POWERGRID Europe and the POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conferences and exhibitions, which are co-located on-site. That adds up to a huge range of power industry knowledge and technology in one place.

POWERGRID Europe offers conference sessions on laws, technologies, case studies and concepts that can work together to make that smart grid a reality. Featuring worldwide vendors and leading utilities, the twin-track conference offers a font of insider knowledge.

The first track examines future technology, grid integrity and improvements, such as how to funnel in renewables more reliably. Germany is the spot to learn all about interconnecting renewables because it is a world leader in using renewable power. (Germany surpassed the EU 2010 requirement of 12 percent renewables in 2007. It is currently just above 14 percent and climbing.)

The second track examines how to prevent the current infrastructure from worsening and how to maintain grid sustainability. POWERGRID Europe offers the practical and the potential to academics and experts alike, giving conference attendees a chance to interact and exchange ideas on how to grow with the interconnecting T&D marketplace.

In addition, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has agreed to open the 2009 POWERGRID Europe show with an end-to-end discussion of the T&D industry at this collaborative turning point.

Beyond the conference, POWERGRID Europe offers a dedicated trade show floor with numerous exhibiting companies displaying services, software, hardware and technologies. With more than 14,000 visitors expected to attend the three, co-located events during three days, the networking opportunities available in Cologne this month are unrivalled.

Tuesday, May 26 Conference Program

14:00–17:30
Opening keynote session: The IET Gives an Overview of the Smart Grid
Chair: Marco Janssen, president & CCO, UTInnovation

The Institution of Engineering and Technology will provide a dedicated session for this year’s POWERGRID conference. Addressing issues surrounding the future of smart grids, this session will provide an overview of evolving ideologies and challenges in the various interconnected areas.

The IET opening session will set the grounding for continued debate in following conference sessions. Providing an update on the current European program following the SmartGrids Technology Platform’s third report, the opening session will detail the strategic deployment for Europe’s future electricity networks during a presentation by Pier Nabuurs, chairman of the EU’s SmartGrids Technology Platform. Then, Dr. Eddie O’Connor, CEO of Mainstream Renewable Power, will explore future challenges for integrating intermittent power generation and the need for networks to evolve to achieve the EU’s 20 percent renewable energy targets. (For more on the EU’s renewables targets and their plans, see the article by EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in the notes section on page 14.)

Rounding off the lineup of leading speakers, Francois Nguyen of the International Energy Agency will present its major findings on transmission investments in OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries, including European cross-border investments. All speakers then will join an industry panel session to answer questions.

Wednesday, May 27 Conference Program

9:00-12:30
Track 1: Making It Better—A Look at Grid Integrity and Improvements
Session 1: Grid Integration for Renewables & Distributed Generation
Chairs: Richard Charnah, technology director, Areva T&D
Claes Rytoft, senior vice president, ABB Power System

The addition of renewables and distributed generation (DG) to a grid built for big and steady power sources can be daunting. This session breaks down T&D issues for nontraditional power sources and interconnections across grids. In the hour and a half before the midsession break, presenters will look at transmission-related ideas: bipolar cable systems for bulk power, connecting German offshore wind, the use of HVDC, and even rail traction. After the break, the nitty-gritty on distribution: increasing voltage headroom, virtual power plants, and a look at the practical issues in the IPS/UPS and UCTE connections will be discussed.

9:00-12:30
Track 2: Keeping It From Getting Worse—Maintaining Grid Sustainability
Session 1: Keeping The Lights On
Chairs: Heiko Englert, head of standardization management, Siemens AG
John Sinclair, principal consultant, EA Technology Limited (EATL)

Equipment is aging; demand is increasing. T&D infrastructure is being taxed by two major issues: lack of previous investment and increasing demand for a more flexible network. This first session on shoring up the aging power grid examines keeping power flowing. It’s a long session split in two parts. Before the break the discussion will focus on protection issues: ground operating current, busbars, IEDs, an arc-classification system used by Vatenfall, and NSTAR gives a U.S. perspective on shunt reactors. After the break, speakers will examine power-failure investigations and substation maintenance. The session will end with a detailed study of an incident in Greece and how it relates to the rest of Europe.

14:00-15:30
Joint Plenary Session: Meeting the Energy Challenge in the Face of the Economic Downturn
Moderator: Vijay Vaitheeswaran, correspondent, The Economist

Experts from all three conferences (POWERGRID Europe, POWER-GEN Europe, Renewable Energy World Europe) will gather together for a cross-event panel discussion. Politicians and commentators will argue who to blame for the crisis, but this session’s industry experts will examine how the global financial crisis is stalling Europe’s energy market as it strives to become more efficient and interconnected, more dependable and self-sufficient, and meet increasing demand for cleaner electricity. Panelists include: Colette Lewiner, vice president and global leader of the Energy, Utilities and Chemicals Global Sector Unit at Capgemini, and Charles W. Newton, president, Newton-Evans Research Co.

16:00 – 17:30
Track 1: Making It Better—A Look at Grid Integrity and Improvements
Session 2: Simulation, Modeling and Planning
Chair: Bill Meehan, director, Utility Solutions, ESRI

Utility engineers can’t deal with all issues hands on when they have to keep the power flowing to millions. T&D engineers have used simulation and planning software for years to examine and re-examine options, issues and solutions without seriously or directly impacting the grid—to show what could happen without causing immediate issues—and to think ahead. This session eyes concepts, calculations and case studies in solving T&D issues “hands off.” Presenters will look at a grid-rationalization project with TERNA in Italy. The heads of the power system operators in Poland and Russia will provide a peak at their simulation and modeling techniques.

16:00-17:30
Track 2: Keeping It From Getting Worse—Maintaining Grid Sustainability
Session 2: Demand-side Management
Chair: Juan Marti, Control Systems, Iberdrola Distribucion S.A.U.

One of the fastest ways to help an aging infrastructure slough off growing power greed is convincing an end user of the most efficient times to run appliances and equipment. It can save cash for consumers and prevent headaches for utilities when demand hits peak. Demand-side management (DSM), however, hinges on smart new meters to help juggle the details. This session will focus on meters and the AMI/AMR debate. For a fun opposition to all those AMR details, the session also will include a piece on electric vehicles on the distribution grid—a DSM idea that might significantly increase demand by end users rather than reduce it. Whether up or down, that demand must be managed.

Conference Program for Thursday, May 28

9:00-12:30
Track 1: Making It Better—A Look at Grid Integrity and Improvements
Session 3: Primary Equipment
Chair: Chuck Newton, president, Newton-Evans Research Co. Inc.

Power doesn’t move without the proper gadgets, and primary equipment is one area that needs concentration as utilities try to shift toward an intelligent, more efficient and modern grid. With aging assets and higher use of intermittent energy, the industry must look at making this equipment work harder, faster and smarter. In this session, AREVA will talk about power electronics, EA Technology will redefine asset management through risk and ZTR will look at CSRBs. Speakers also will examine fault-current limiters, overhead lines and transformers.

9:00-12:30
Track 2: Keeping It From Getting Worse— Maintaining Grid Sustainability
Session 3: Information and Communication Technology
Chair: Eric Lambert, project manager, EDF R&D

The computer infiltrated the T&D side of the power industry long ago, and now utility engineers spend a lot of time discussing the best protocols—the best ways for digitized bits to talk with each other. Different spots around the globe favor different communication protocols. This session will look at what works, what doesn’t work and how the industry can get the parts to communicate properly. Papers on automated acceptance testing, EDF’s look at ICT, migration, architectures and object models are listed for this informative final session.

All information about tracks and sessions were accurate at press time but are subject to change.

On the Net: POWERGRID Europe: http://www.powergrideurope.com.

Kathleen Davis is also the POWERGRID Europe conference director.

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