ELECTRIC POWER 2008, the world’s most comprehensive conference covering power generation, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Baltimore Convention Center from May 6 through May 8. A full agenda of preconference workshops and tutorials is scheduled for Monday, May 5 (see sidebar).

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

The program features in-depth topics that cover business, engineering, and plant operations issues. More than 400 speakers and panelists will participate in the program, which features 16 conference tracks, two user group meetings, the Carbon Constraint Conference, and 12 preconference Best Practices workshops and tutorials. The latest power industry technologies will be highlighted by approximately 500 exhibitors (see sidebar).

Keynote session

The conference starts with a State of the Industry Address by Pat Wood III, principal of Wood3 Resources and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Following his presentation will be the CEO Roundtable, with distinguished industry leaders candidly exploring both the opportunities and the challenges facing the power industry. Dr. Robert Peltier, PE, POWER’s editor-in-chief, will moderate the session. This year’s distinguished panel features the following industry leaders from both investor- and government-owned gencos who have various perspectives on the industry:

  • Thomas Brooks, Vice Chairman, Executive Vice President, Constellation Energy
  • Bill Carnahan, Executive Director, Southern California Public Power Authority
  • Milton Lee, General Manager and CEO, CPS Energy
  • Michael Morris, Chairman, President, and CEO, American Electric Power
  • James E. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, President, and CEO, Duke Energy Corp.
  • Jeffry Sterba, Chairman, President, and CEO, PNM Resources Inc.

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

Strategic Tracks

Four tracks examine topics from a management perspective.

Power industry trends. The power industry is experiencing significant change driven by a number of long-range, complex and often conflicting trends. What are these forces? Where will they lead us? What will the industry look like 15 years from now? These sessions discuss the drivers for change and provide a look into our future:

  • The Perfect Storm: Opportunity or Doom?
  • Infrastructure Security Issues
  • Logistics—Supply Chain Challenges
  • Labor/People Development for the Future
  • Electricity Delivery Models
  • Environmental Convergence

Grid power. What value does power have if it cannot get from source to market? None! The grid is critical for a market to succeed. Speakers will look at current and future trends in the transmission systems in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic and at how to encourage investment.

  • The Perfect Storm: Opportunity or Doom?
  • Infrastructure Security Issues
  • ISO Operations, Opportunities, Challenges, and Risks
  • Distributed Smart Grid Technologies and Applications
  • Electric Power Delivery Models
  • Connecting Renewable Generation

Fuel strategies—price/quality/delivery/opportunity. Fuel represents over 70% of the costs for fossil-fueled generation, and coal is currently subject to extreme supply and price volatility. Sessions in this track examine the challenges and solutions for coal supply, quality, transportation, storage, and handling. This track will also look at how the impact of coal combustion and gasification residues becomes significant if they are not converted to salable byproducts and at the impact of delivery and utilization of LNG and other gaseous fuels.

  • Impact of Market Growth on Fuel Strategies
  • Procurement and Market Issues
  • Natural Gas, LNG, and Gasification Issues
  • Coal Quality Characterization Methods and Applications
  • Alternative and Opportunity Fuels
  • Strategies for a Benign Environment

Fleet optimization. Sessions in this track will focus on issues associated with the operation of a generating fleet. Topics to be addressed include increasing asset value, tradeoffs between reliability and short-term economics, managing emissions constraints, applying intelligent controls/IT systems, and satisfying renewable portfolio standards. All of the above must be addressed within the context of the operation of a fleet of units. In addition, the asset owner must manage demand and the delivery of ancillary services. This includes fleets in an ISO-managed environment and where ISO markets have not yet developed.

  • Economic Optimization and Maximizing Asset Value
  • Knowledge Management: A Report from the Trenches
  • ISO Operations, Opportunities, Challenges, and Risks
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards—A Stark Reality?
  • Fleet Maintenance Improvements

Tactical Meetings—Fuels and Technologies

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

Coal power plants—upgrades and new capacity. With over 50% of North America’s electricity generated by coal-fired power plants, coal consumption is expected to increase. However, the industry is experiencing challenges in adding new capacity while the existing infrastructure is undergoing a massive environmental retrofit program. These sessions will explore the challenges and proposed solutions.

  • New Coal Projects/Challenges
  • Advanced Pulverized Coal Technologies
  • Boiler Operational Issues
  • Coal-Fired Stations—New Plant Construction
  • Material-Handling System Upgrades (two sessions)

IGCC and other advanced coal technologies. Is integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) the answer, or is it coal-based substitute natural gas (SNG)? The power generation industry, especially the coal-to-power sector, is asking what the next fleet of fossil-fueled power plants will look like. Carbon capture requirements are already occurring in some states and are being discussed in national forums. Delays on coal power projects may prompt a return to natural gas combined-cycle plants. 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 IGCC project development paths from design to operation, the status of the most advanced commercial projects, plus ongoing advanced gasification and oxyfuel combustion demonstration projects.

  • IGCC Projects
  • IGCC Environmental Performance and Regulatory Issues
  • IGCC Project Development—Soup to Nuts
  • Substitute Natural Gas
  • Advanced Coal Technology and Developments Demonstration Projects
  • Oxyfuel and Other Advanced Combustion Technologies

Gas turbine and combined-cycle power plants. For more than a decade, gas turbine–based power plants (either in simple- or combined-cycle configurations) ruled the new plant construction market. High-efficiency projects using a low-polluting fuel provided a win-win situation. However, fluctuations in the cost of natural gas presented plant operators with unexpected challenges. These sessions examine issues related to gas-powered plants.

  • Fast Start Technology Update
  • Power Augmentation Technologies and Asset Optimization
  • Turbine System Upgrades
  • Combined-Cycle Optimization and Evaluation
  • Combined-Cycle Projects—Challenges to Success
  • Combined-Cycle Operating Experience

Nuclear power. The nuclear renaissance is accelerating. How is the nuclear industry supporting this renewed growth area of generation? What issues confront current operating plant owners, and how are nuclear plant activities being managed at the same time? This session will give perspectives on current and future nuclear power issues.

  • New Nuclear Reactor Update—Deals, Deals, and More Deals
  • Licensing and Regulatory: How Is It Working?
  • Digital I&C Issues in New and Existing Nuclear Power Plants
  • Meeting Staffing Needs for the Nuclear Renaissance
  • Getting the Most Out of Nuclear Assets
  • Future Nuclear Technologies
  • Nuclear Suppliers—Getting in the Game

Renewable power. Thanks to increasing public perception of global warming and impending legislative actions, renewable energy has received continued attention. In response to this challenge, manufacturers have focused on reducing costs and increasing manufacturing capacity, thus making renewable power the first choice for reducing greenhouse gases. This track will highlight the developments being done and how renewables are being adopted increasingly by the utility industry.

  • Utility Perspective—Panel Discussion
  • Concentrated Solar Power and Photovoltaics
  • Wind Energy
  • Biomass Utilization
  • State and Federal Programs and Targets to Promote Renewables, Worldwide
  • Connecting Renewable 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. These 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 they can also enhance power quality and provide the capability to maintain operation in the event of a power failure. In this track, you will catch up on the most recent advances in the technologies from leaders in the field. Also included will be sessions on critical issues such as fuel systems, grid interconnection, and an overview of the trends in the field.

  • Distributed Resources Overview
  • Energy Storage
  • Fuel Cells
  • Distributed Smart Grid Technologies and Applications
  • Alternative and Opportunity Fuels
  • CHP—Cogeneration

Tactical Meetings—Engineering and Operating Considerations

Four tracks cover sections of the plant that are not fuel-specific.

Power plant safety and security. Effective plant safety and security practices are preached by most companies, but every year incidents occur that cause property loss and impact the lives of many. This track reviews the benefits of implementing a sound, cost-effective program.

  • Leadership for Safety Excellence
  • Arc Flash Hazards
  • What Does It Mean for the Line Organization to Own Safety?
  • How Is Your Safety Checklist?
  • Employee Wellness—Coping with Aging Workforce and Off-the-Job Safety
  • Industrial Incident Case Studies

Plant operation optimization and maintenance. These sessions focus on the safe and efficient operation of power plant assets in a world of increasingly demanding environmental regulatory constraints. The effective maintenance of these assets will minimize fuel consumption, improve reliability, and reduce exposure to unsafe plant conditions, thereby reducing overall emissions and job-related injuries.

  • Maintenance Strategies
  • Reliability Issues on Aging Electrical Equipment
  • Asset Optimization/Heat Rate
  • Prevention and Elimination of Critical Equipment Failures Case Studies
  • Operator Training—Improving Operations Through Training and Evaluation
  • Predictive Maintenance Case Studies

Power plant components—design and operation. These sessions focus on the power plant’s capital equipment and systems for efficient operations, examining the benefits of implementing the latest technologies.

  • Operations for Today and Future Power Plants
  • Cooling Systems
  • Case Studies
  • Technology for Turbines, Generators, and Auxiliaries
  • Transformers

Heat rate—managing the energy conversion process. These sessions focus on the efficient operation of power plant assets in an effort to minimize fuel consumption, thereby reducing overall emissions, improving plant availability, and reducing fuel cost.

  • Operator Controllable Losses
  • Parasitic Energy Reduction
  • Asset Optimization/Heat Rate
  • Turbine Efficiency
  • Boiler/Combustion
  • Air Heaters to Stack
  • Feedwater Heaters

Environmental Tracks

Two full conference tracks are devoted to environmental topics.

Environmental regulatory issues, strategies, and technologies I and II. Operating companies continue to be challenged by the need to comply with more-stringent environmental standards and uncertainties regarding the potential for future carbon constraints. Current environmental decisions have long-term implications for preserving the value of generation assets. These sessions will provide an overview of existing and proposed environmental legislation and regulations and will examine compliance options. Presentations will feature operating experiences at existing installations as well as new and near-commercial technologies.

  • Fleetwide Considerations for Achieving Emissions Compliance
  • Hg Technologies I & II
  • Hg CEM and Sorbent Trap Monitoring Systems
  • NOx Combustion Control Technologies
  • NOx Post-Combustion Control Technologies
  • CO2 Post-Combustion Capture
  • CO2 Sequestration Technologies
  • Particulate and SO3 Control
  • FGD Scrubber Wastewater
  • FGD Operation, Maintenance, Overhaul, and Upgrades

Closing plenary session. The Conference will close with a plenary session in which session chairs will review the conference and report on highlights of the meeting.

User Group Meetings

The ELECTRIC POWER Conference is also the venue for the annual meeting of two influential power industry user groups: the Combined Cycle Users’ Group and the PRB Coal Users’ Group. Delegates should register for the ELECTRIC POWER Conference and upgrade for a nominal additional fee to attend the user group sessions. This upgrade applies to both individual registrants and those participating in discounted group plans.

Combined Cycle Users’ Group Annual Meeting. Operators of combined-cycle plants face a complex set of perennial and emerging challenges that the sessions at this meeting are designed to address.

  • Steam Turbine Maintenance and Overhaul, Reliability and Performance Improvements
  • Aftermarket Parts
  • Update on Status of GE R0 Compressor Blade Redesign
  • Workforce Development and Training
  • Issues Surrounding Carbon Management
  • Discussion of Future Developments/Operations of Combined-Cycle Power Plants
  • Known Issues with HRSG Tubes in Combined-Cycle Duty (speakers from HRSG vendors, specialty consultants, and owners/ users)
  • Severe Service Control Values—Issues and Solutions (speakers from valve manufacturers and service organizations)
  • Water Conservation—Issues Relating to Minimizing Consumptive Water Use (speakers from chemical process suppliers and manufacturers of air-cooled condensers, HRSG tubes, and control valves)
  • Issues with HRSG Tubes
  • Severe Service Control Valves (Steam Turbine Bypass) and Desuperheaters
  • Water Conservation Concerns

PRB Coal Users’ Group Annual Meeting. The PRB Coal Users’ Group was formed in 2000 to meet the needs of generating companies using, or considering the use of PRB coal. Its objective is to encourage the safe, economical use of the resource. The group maintains a database of plants using PRB coal, and the board has developed a list of recommended best practices. The highlight of the year is the annual meeting that traditionally attracts more than 300 delegates. During the second day of the meeting, the group offers three breakout sessions to better serve the specific needs of the members: coal-handling, boiler and combustion and safety, and fire and risk management. The meeting has built a reputation for candid and constructive dialogue. Topics to be covered include:

  • Chairman’s Opening Remarks
  • PRB Coal Supply
  • Coal Dust Mitigation in Railcars
  • PRBCUG Plant of the Year
  • Operating Without a Crusher
  • Removing Barriers to Reliability

Coal-handling breakout session:

  • Methods of Coal Blending and Their Effectiveness
  • Conveyor Belting 101
  • Lifecycle of Coal-Handling Changes
  • Track vs. Wheeled Equipment—Cost Benefit
  • Railcar Maintenance—Southern Company and DTE’s Experience

Boiler/combustion breakout session:

  • Mill Performance
  • On-Line Sampling
  • Chemical Injection for Boiler Slagging Prevention
  • Mill Inerting Best Practice
  • Oxistop
  • Successful Robust Optimization Strategies Based on Historical Data for Existing Coal-Burning Furnace Technologies (Beyond DOE, CFD, and Statistical Modeling)

Safety, fire, and risk-management breakout session:

  • Coal Terminal Conveyor, Transfer Station, and Dust Collector Fire
  • Stick It: Using a Piercing Rod
  • Safety and Fire Protection at TVA
  • Fire System Upgrades
  • Conveyor Safety (Guarding, Operation, Dust, Noise, Infrastructure, and Cleaning)
  • How Is Your Safety Checklist?

Thursday, May 8 will offer an open discussion with the PRBCUG Board of Directors. Surveys from past user group meetings have shown that representatives from operating companies want a chance for candid discussions among themselves on issues raised during the first two days of the conference or on topics that have been a constant concern. This forum meets that request. This interactive forum is reserved for gencos and plant operations staff only.

For more information

Full conference program details are available at www.electricpowerexpo.com. Discounted group registration plans are available to companies sending multiple delegates to the conference.