For this issue, I interviewed Tom Flaherty, a partner with Booz and Co., for the annual utility capital spending report. Flaherty shared his thoughts on the challenges utilities faced in 2009 and those they likely will face in 2010. The article, which begins on page 18, indicates that the road ahead for utilities will be rough at times.
Because of these unprecedented challenges, the Electric Light & Power magazine staff thought 2010 would be a good time to launch a new conference to help utility executives turn the industry’s challenges into opportunities.
The Electric Light & Power Executive Conference will be March 21 and 22 in Tampa, Fla. It is a joint project of PennWell’s DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, the industry’s leading transmission and distribution conference and trade show for 20 years, and Electric Light & Power magazine. Please consider this commentary your personal invitation from me to attend the event.
Keynote speakers for the event are Susan Eisenhower and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoràƒ©. Eisenhower, who is scheduled to speak on the opening day, is the granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower and an advocate for public-private effort to upgrade the nation’s electric grid. She believes building a national green grid is an opportunity to help the national economy.
Honoràƒ©, who will close the conference, was instrumental in realigning the recovery efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. As the commanding general of Joint Task Force Katrina, he undeniably changed the course of the disaster. Honoràƒ© will offer insights into protecting people and organizations and outline the principles necessary to lead through unexpected, uncontrollable crises.
The sessions at the Executive Conference will feature speakers from utilities, financial institutions, research companies and consultancies. These experts will address, among other things, smart grid development, financing, unconventional power source integration and business strategies for a sustainable energy future.
Along with informative keynote speakers and conference sessions, the ELP Executive Conference will offer networking opportunities. Those who attend may visit with Eisenhower during a wine and cheese reception following her opening keynote and join us for the Sunday evening dinner cruise on the luxury yacht StarShip. The yacht will tour Tampa Bay while guests enjoy four-star cuisine, top-quality service, entertainment and networking.
The conference will be an intimate event where industry colleagues can network and discuss industry challenges and opportunities. You may read more about the event on pages 40-43 or by visiting the conference Web site, http://elpconference.com.
We coordinate this event with DistribuTECH, which is also in Tampa, so you may attend the Executive Conference and for a small upgrade fee extend your stay through the leading conference on automation and control systems, energy efficiency, engineering, demand response, renewables integration, power delivery equipment and water utility technology.
I’ve been involved with every aspect of planning this inaugural conference, and I know it has a lot to offer executives from rural cooperatives, municipalities, public and investor-owned utilities. Take a close look at the details and join me at the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. I look forward to seeing you there.
Also, it’s hard to believe that not only another year, but another decade, has passed. They’ve been filled with challenges for the electric utility industry.
Teresa Hansen, editor in chief