Plug into the Grid

By Kathleen Davis, Senior Editor

POWERGRID Europe 2010 Conference & Exhibition will visit Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 8-10. This power industry event again is being held with two intrinsically related events, POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe. In addition, there will be a new, co-located conference: Nuclear Power Europe.

With growing global focus on electricity transmission and distribution (T&D), POWERGRID Europe offers an inside look at industry adjustments, growing pains, experiments and successes. Featuring worldwide vendors and leading utilities, the twin-track conference offers a font of insider knowledge. Attending sessions on communications, standards, renewables integration and the smart grid, an attendee can gather a wealth of T&D knowledge in one spot. POWERGRID Europe offers the practical and potential to academics and experts, giving a chance to exchange ideas on how to grow with the interconnecting T&D marketplace.

Beyond the conference, POWERGRID Europe offers a dedicated trade show floor with numerous exhibitors displaying services, software, hardware and technologies. With more than 14,000 visitors expected during three days of this joint event, the networking opportunities are unrivalled.


Joint Opening Keynote Session


All power industry professionals onsite in Amsterdam for one of the four co-located conferences should attend the joint opening keynote session before the exhibition opens. This year’s keynote speakers are thought leaders who will offer power sector visions from their different standpoints. Introductory remarks will be given by Nigel Blackaby, director of conferences for PennWell’s International Power Group. He will be followed by Rudd Lubbers, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and Joost van Dijk.

Lubbers became minister of economic affairs (including energy) in 1973 and prime minister of the Netherlands in 1982 (until 1994). In 1994, he became a professor on globalization and international
president of WWF. From 2001-2005, he was the United Nations high commissioner for refugees. During those years, he continued to be a member of the Earth Charter Commission.

Now he is minister of state of the Netherlands, chairman of the Energy Research Center (ECN), which is about energy saving, renewable energy, clean fossils (climate change) and Atoms for Peace (nuclear technology); and chairman of the Council of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative.

Al Jaber is the managing director and CEO of Masdar in the United Arab Emirates, a landmark renewable energy initiative established by the Abu Dhabi government in 2006. Masdar is a multifaceted renewable energy company dedicated to developing and deploying sustainable energy solutions in markets worldwide. Al Jaber holds a number of advisory positions where he provides counsel on global issues such as sustainability, climate change and energy challenges. Most recently, Al Jaber led Masdar’s participation in the United Arab Emirates’ successful bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Masdar City. In addition, in 2009 U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon elected Al Jaber to join the U.N.’s Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group.

Van Dijk MSc is chairman and CEO of the management board of E.ON Benelux in the Netherlands, a company that concentrates on the production and supply of electricity and gas to private customers and business customers. Van Dijk joined E.ON in 2001, following a 15-year career at the Shell Group in research and development, engineering, technology and chemical manufacturing. He graduated in electrical engineering and chemical technology at the Twente University and received a master’s of business administration from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Van Dijk assumed his current role in March 2005. He is also chairman of the Dutch Gas Turbine Association and member of the Coal Industry Advisory Board, established by the International Energy Agency.

The joint keynote session will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 8 in the ground floor auditorium inside the Congress Centre at the RAI in Amsterdam.


Joint Plenary Session


Delegates from POWERGRID Europe, POWER-GEN Europe, Renewable Energy World Europe and Nuclear Power Europe are invited to a joint plenary panel discussion during the shows. The debate encapsulates the dilemma for suppliers and utilities, many of whom were hoping for greater direction to emerge from the Copenhagen climate change talks. Meanwhile, a competitive European electricity sector continues to face the challenges of an aging infrastructure, a rising level of demand and questions of fuel sources and choices.

The Joint Plenary Panel Discussion will be from 14:00 to 15:30 Wednesday, June 9 in the auditorium in the Congress Centre. It will feature leading industry participants from utilities, regulators and suppliers. Delegates may participate by putting their own questions to the panel. Stephen Sackur, international journalist and TV presenter, will moderate. Sackur is famous worldwide as the presenter of “HARDtalk,” the flagship current affairs interview program aired on BBC World and the News Channel.


Conference Sessions: Tuesday, June 8


Conference sessions for POWERGRID Europe begin Tuesday afternoon with a smart grid vendor panel. The concept of “smart grid” is so popular as an industry marketing term that just about every piece of software, gadget and widget calls itself beneficial to the smart grid. In this session, specialists from industry vendors will discuss all the parts that make a smart grid and what a utility must know to pick the right products for their growing needs. Short presentations will precede a longer interactive panel discussion.

If an attendee is looking Tuesday afternoon for details rather than a smart grid vendor overview, opposite the smart grid vendor panel will be a session on modeling for future networks. The easiest way to see the invisible—the mathematical, theoretical, futuristic—is to model it. This session examines the use of models to believe in items ranging from wind turbine integration to the measurements required for distribution networks. Chaired by Bill Meehan, director of utility solutions at ESRI, this session will feature papers from ABB, Current Group, Lancaster University in the U.K. and Wartsila Finland.

Another session runs concurrently during the second part of the smart grid vendor panel megasession: a look at network stability. Advancing the grid of the future requires work with today’s network and improvements in the areas that keep all the parts in good order. This session will give theoretical and practical perspectives on reliability, monitoring and control. Chaired by Edward Coster, senior specialist asset management with Stedin, this session will feature papers from the University of Stuttgart, EFACEC and Siemens.


Conference Sessions: Wednesday, June 9


Wednesday, June 9 begins with two megasessions: one on interoperability; the other on what the POWERGRID Europe committee deemed “grid evolution.”

As projects grow and interconnect, the technology involved must adapt. The concept of a single set of international interoperability standards, however, remains elusive. The interoperability session discusses the future of standards and how to coordinate the grid until we reach the single-set goal. Chaired by Eric Lambàƒ©rt, project manager with EDF Electricite de France R&D, and Heiko Englert, head of standardization and regulation management with Siemens AG, Energy Automation in Germany, this session will feature papers from Invensys Operations Management, Landis+Gyr, the IEC, UTInnovation, FGH e.V., OFFIS and Moxa Europe.

Running concurrently with the interoperability session will be the grid evolution session. There is no immediate way to get from the network of today to the grid of the future without slow, steady progress. This session examines practical, immediate ways the industry is moving to grow a stronger grid. Chaired by Richard Charnah, technology director, with Areva T&D, and Claes Rytoft, senior vice president with ABB Power System, this session will feature papers from Newton-Evans Research Co., Pro Integris and HEP OPS in Croatia, IBM, the College of Electrical Engineering in China, the DG Joint Research Centre at the European Commission, the ENTSO-E, and Energynautics GmbH.

After the joint plenary session Wednesday, June 9, POWERGRID Europe sessions will continue with two shorter discussions on information technology (IT) in modern power grids and integrating renewables.

IT is the “smart” in smart grids. Modern utilities rely heavily on IT interconnections and advancements for everything from predicting markets to tracking consumer data. The session on IT’s role in power grids looks at four aspects of IT and the grid, from geographic systems to substations, and from protocols to microgrids. Chaired by Peter Moray, director of the European UTC in Belgium, this session will feature papers from ESRI, Areva T&D, Red Elàƒ©ctrica de Espaàƒ±a and Alstom.

The practicalities of connection distributed generation like renewables to current T&D system require significant thought. The grid intergration of renewables session looks at the generation and use of renewable sources across the power grid.

Chaired by Marco Janssen, president and CEO of UTInnovation, this session will feature papers from 50Hertz Transmission (formerly Vattenfall Transmission), BPL Global, the EDISON/AIDA project leader from IBM and KEMA.


Conference Sessions: Thursday, June 10


The final day of POWERGRID Europe features two concurrent megasessions: smart cities and transmission challenges.

Smart grids are a start, but smart cities remain the goal. The smart cities session reviews smart city projects from retrofitting parts of Amsterdam’s grid to completing a city from scratch with Masdar. Each city will be discussed in a presentation followed by a long group panel discussion where the audience asks questions of the experts to see how the lessons learned with these projects can be applied to every city. Chaired by Pallas Agterberg, director of strategy and innovation with Alliander, this session will feature papers from Accenture, Amsterdam Innovation Motor, Fortum Power and Heat AB, the ENTSO-E, Masdar, and the European Commission’s Information Society.

People talk about the power behind the smart grid, but we can’t have all the wonders at the consumer end without a robust transmission system. The transmission challenges session discusses how to keep the transmission operating smoothly. Chaired by Charles W. Newton, president of Newton-Evans Research Co., this session will feature papers from TenneT, KEC International Ltd., ABB, HEP-Transmission System, Prysmian S.p.A., Zagreb, and E D SE PTI NC in Germany.

Along with the conference sessions, POWERGRID Europe will feature an exhibit floor integrated with the three other co-located conferences. In addition, attendees may visit Amsterdam’s Climate Street project during one of the two POWERGRID Europe tech tours.

Information included in this article was accurate as of press time but is subject to change. Attendees can get up-to-date POWERGRID Europe conference information at

Senior Editor Kathleen Davis is also the conference director for POWERGRID Europe.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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