Past, Present, and Future: A Look at Where POWER’s Been and Where It’s Headed

October 2022 marks the 140th anniversary of POWER magazine. It’s obviously a notable achievement. There aren’t many magazines of any type that have been in continuous print for as long as POWER, and even fewer in the B2B (business-to-business) media space. Our staff is incredibly proud of the accomplishment.

The Past

POWER’s mission has always been to inform readers in the power industry about important technology and to provide insight on how to improve plant operations and performance. Although I don’t have a copy of the inaugural issue of the magazine, I do have many of the hard copies from 1901 and a bound copy of the 1912 edition in my personal archives.

I get kind of sentimental when I look through those old issues. I like to imagine what life was like when those copies hit the street. POWER’s headquarters in 1901 were in New York City. I can picture the editor, F.R. Low, walking the work at the World Building and buying a copy of The New York Times, which cost 1¢ at the time, while on his way. He probably read articles about King Edward VII succeeding Queen Victoria (sound familiar?) or about the newly re-elected President McKinley, who, incidentally, my grandfather—born in 1904—was named after.

The July 1901 issue of POWER featured on its cover images from the Pan-American Exposition (Figure 1), the official name of the World’s Fair that year held in Buffalo, New York, which, incidentally, is where President McKinley was assassinated on Sept. 6, 1901. I suspect Low and perhaps Assistant Editor C.W. Dibble attended the event together, as the second sentence of the article about it says, “we were surprised on arriving here the first week in June …” The pair may also have attended World’s Fairs in Chicago and Paris previously, as the “we” reference is used when mentioning those events in the article too.

The July 1901 cover of POWER magazine, which features images from the World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York. Source: POWER

The Present

POWER has come a long way since those early days and so has the media business. While the magazine is still important and serves as the flagship of our brand, POWER offers its audience so much more today.

Our events are a big draw to many. This month, we’ll be in Denver, Colorado, to host Experience POWER, the Distributed Energy Conference (DEC), and HydrogeNext. Experience POWER, previously the ELECTRIC POWER Conference and Exhibition, is in its 24th year and is expected to be better than ever. It covers all aspects of the electric power sector and facilitates the conversations necessary to manage the global energy transition to cleaner power sources. DEC, meanwhile, is keenly focused on distributed energy resources. It brings together utility- and small-scale power generators with vendors, suppliers, and partners across distributed generation to dive into real-life applications, project planning, and business and financial aspects of distributed energy. HydrogeNext is the one event designed to cover the full hydrogen energy value chain from production to distribution and end-use. It brings together power generation and chemical process industry professionals to collaborate and learn about the fast-paced advances being made toward a hydrogen economy. The three events are our own little “World’s Fair,” if you will. I should also mention our Connected Plant Conference, which is going into its 7th year and will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 26–28, 2023.

Besides these, POWER has a huge presence online. Our website received more than 4.5 million pageviews in 2021 and is on pace to do very well again this year. We deploy the POWERnews e-letter weekly, and fuel-specific e-letters monthly. We have a podcast, host webinars, produce videos, and we’re active on social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. POWER is constantly engaging with readers in every way possible.

The Future

Yet, just as the power industry is constantly changing, so is POWER. Looking ahead, we are excited to be launching a new data product by early next year. The tool, aptly called POWER G.R.I.D. (generation research and intelligence database), will give users an easy interface to access U.S. power plant information including complete locations, ownership, equipment types, capacity data, and past production statistics. It will also include emissions data and details about planned, operating, and retiring units. Our staff is very excited, not only to roll the product out to our audience, but also to use the tool ourselves.

Yogi Berra, the long-time catcher for the New York Yankees, who is well-known for his pithy comments and seemingly unintentional witticisms, once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” I think Yogi was right, but one thing I do feel confident predicting is that POWER will be around for many more years to come and our staff of editors will work tirelessly to provide the power industry with the best and most useful information we can to improve the operations and maintenance of power plants around the world. I am very proud to be a part of this phenomenal team!

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor.

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