2009 Electric Power Conference Preview

ELECTRIC POWER, the world’s most comprehensive conference covering power generation, will be presented at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago May 12 through May 14.

ELECTRIC POWER 2009, sponsored by POWER magazine, has been programmed to meet the information needs of power generating companies. Programming is developed under the direction of an advisory committee comprising approximately 150 members from industry, government, and academia. More than one-third of committee members are from generating companies.

The program features in-depth topics that cover business, engineering, and plant operations. More than 400 speakers and panelists will participate in the program that features 16 conference tracks, two user group meetings, and 14 preconference best practices workshops and tutorials (see sidebar). In addition, the Power Industry Division of ISA will colocate its annual symposium with ELECTRIC POWER for the first time this year. And on the exhibit floor, the latest power industry technologies will be highlighted by approximately 500 exhibitors (see sidebar).

Whet your appetite with this preview, and then view the full conference program, including abstracts and speaker bios, at www.electricpowerexpo.com, where you can also register for the industry event of the year.

Keynote Session

The conference starts with a State of the Industry Address by Jason Makansi, president of Pearl Street Inc. and author of Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy, and What It Means to You.

Jason Makansi

Following Makansi’s presentation, the Power Industry Executive Roundtable participants will candidly explore both the opportunities and the challenges facing the power industry. Dr. Robert Peltier, PE, editor-in-chief of POWER, will moderate the session. This year’s panel features the following distinguished industry leaders from generating companies who have varying perspectives on the industry:

  • Michael Allman, President and CEO, Sempra Generation

  • Bob Flexon, Chief Operating Officer, NRG Energy

  • Ron Litzinger, Chairman, President, and CEO, Edison Mission Group

  • Chris Crane, Principal Operating Officer, Exelon Corp.

  • Michael Morris, Chairman, President, and CEO, American Electric Power

  • Bruce Williamson, Chairman, President, and CEO, Dynegy

Following the Roundtable, the conference moves into breakout sessions. Delegates may choose among the 16 ELECTRIC POWER tracks or the two user group meetings.

Strategic Tracks

The following four tracks examine topics from a management perspective.

Power Industry Trends. The power industry is experiencing significant change arising from many long-range, complex trends coupled with continuing regulatory uncertainty. Sessions including the topics of transmission and the supply chain will examine the drivers for change and provide a look into our future.

Challenges of Water Usage in Power Generation. As the global population increases and more power plants are built, access to water is becoming a challenge. Boiler blowdown, cooling tower blowdown, and drift loss are the principal consumers of water. Options for conserving water are discussed in this track.

Fuel Strategies — Price/Quality/Delivery/Opportunity. Sessions in this track examine the challenges and solutions for coal supply, quality, transportation, storage, and handling. This track will also look at the impact of coal and coal handling, including cofiring, on power generation systems and the impact of fuel gas variability on gas turbine operations.

Fleet Optimization. Fleet optimization can mean many things. Do you want to know how to define a comprehensive strategy? Improve productivity? Incorporate new technologies? Better deal with NERC issues? Integrate knowledge management from digital and human resources? If you need to do any of these, attend the sessions in this track.

Tactical Meetings — Fuels & Technologies

Six tracks examine the latest developments in the power industry by fuel and technology perspectives.

State-of-the-Art Coal Technology. This track will cover new coal plants under development, construction, or start-up. Advanced supercritical cycle experience will also be shared. Additional topics will include design consideration for carbon-capture-ready plants, plant upgrades, and improvements, and material handling.

IGCC and Other Advanced Coal Technologies. Will the future fossil fleet consist of integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) or coal-based substitute natural gas? Or will delays on coal power projects prompt a return to natural gas combined cycle? What is happening in the gasification industry in response to building pressure on the power sector to site new coal power plants? This track will examine these issues as well as IGCC project development paths from design to operation and the status of the most advanced commercial projects. Ongoing advanced gasification and oxyfuel combustion demonstration projects will be addressed.

Gas Turbine and Combined-Cycle Power Plants. Owners and operators of gas turbines continue to be challenged by new technology, new regulations, and new operating profiles. This track will once again provide timely solutions to time-sensitive problems.

Nuclear Power. Proposed new U.S. nuclear plant projects could have a high-octane impact on the U.S. economy. Applications to license new nuclear plants are lining up like flights stacked up at O’Hare. What criteria were used to pursue new nuclear generation? How are the multiple licensing reviews progressing? Meanwhile, the industry is adding megawatts to the grid now with a number of operating fleet initiatives like extended power uprates. This session will provide a variety of perspectives on these and other topics, including what today’s innovation holds for tomorrow’s nuclear technology.

Renewable Power. Renewable energy is the most important trend impacting the power industry today. Though it was a minor contributor a few years ago, renewable energy has become a mainstream generation contributor and the dominant source for new capacity. At the same time, many power generation professionals are unfamiliar with the performance, reliability, and costs of renewable technologies. This track is aimed at expanding renewable energy generation.

Distributed Resources. Distributed energy resources continue to gain favor as an option for customers wanting to include self-generation as part of their energy supply strategy. Small, modular energy generation, energy storage, and combined heat and power (cogeneration) technologies can not only reduce the cost of electricity and steam heat service to customers but also enhance power quality and provide the capability to maintain operation in the event of a power failure. The ability to intelligently manage and curtail demand is also quickly being seen as a reliable resource, and will be investigated. In this track, you will catch up on the most recent advances in the technologies from leaders in the field.

Plant Operations & Technologies

Four tracks examine the challenges of safe and efficient plant operations and maintenance.

Power Plant Safety and Security. This track explores several of the leading issues in safety and security. Speakers were sought who can provide relevant materials and practical solutions for dealing with those issues.

Power Plant Operation, Optimization, and Maintenance. These sessions focus on the safe and efficient operation of power plant assets in increasingly demanding times. Effective maintenance strategies will optimize production by minimizing fuel consumption and improving reliability and training, thereby reducing unsafe conditions and job-related injuries.

Power Plant Components — New and Emerging Technologies. These sessions focus on new and emerging technologies for optimizing power plant operation and efficiency. They will look at development of the business case, case studies, and the benefits of implementing the latest technologies on existing equipment.

Heat Rate — Managing the Energy Conversion Process. This is a "back to basics" track focusing on the efficient operation of power plant assets in an effort to minimize fuel consumption, thereby reducing fuel and emissions costs while improving plant availability.

Environmental Strategy and Compliance Technologies

Operating companies are required to make tremendous investments in order to maintain environmental regulatory compliance while at the same time positioning for the impact of future carbon constraints. These investments have significant long-term implications for the value of current and future generation assets. Sessions in this track will provide an overview of existing and proposed environmental legislation and regulations and will examine the various compliance options. Presentations will feature the operating experience at existing installations as well as new and near-commercial technologies.

Colocated User Group Meetings

For optimal convenience, the PRB Coal Users’ Group and the Combined Cycle Users’ Group will again be holding their annual meetings at the same time and location as ELECTRIC POWER.

PRB Coal Users’ Group. The PRB Coal Users’ Group (www.prbcoals.com) conducts preconference workshops on May 11 and a full slate of conference sessions from May 12 through 14. The interactive dialog provides valuable information to those currently using (or planning to use) this desirable but potentially dangerous fuel. The second day of the conference features three breakout sessions covering coal handling, boiler and combustion and safety, and fire and risk management. The conference includes many case studies that allow issues to be discussed candidly.

Combined Cycle Users’ Group. The Combined Cycle Users’ Group (www.combinedcycleusers.org) Annual Meeting addresses issues concerning the interactions among all major components of the combined-cycle power plant — the gas turbine, HRSG, and steam turbine. These issues are critical at a time when many plants must operate on razor-thin margins and in modes for which their units were not designed. Sessions cover everything from fuel quality to staffing.

52nd Annual ISA POWID Symposium and 19th ISA POWID/EPRI Controls & Instrumentation Conference. For more than half a century, the Power Industry Division (POWID) of the Instrument Society of America (ISA) has presented its annual conference to review advances in power generation instrumentation, controls, and automation. The sessions cover both nuclear and fossil applications as well as training and standards committee meetings. This year’s conference topics will range from online optimization controls to critical infrastructure protection. For more information, visit www.isa.org and click the link for this event under Event Calendar.

Power Plant Awards Banquet

The Power Plant Awards Banquet gives industry recognition to key technologies and developments for power generation plants. POWER magazine’s Plant of the Year and Marmaduke award winners, as well as the PRB Coal Users’ Group Plant of the Year recipient and PRB Coal Users’ Group student scholarship recipients, are recognized during this must-attend industry gathering.

The featured speaker this year will be Dave Dravecky — Major League Baseball pitcher, author, and cancer survivor.