With almost 3,800 registrations (+16% on 2016) and more than 300 exhibitors over three floors (also +16% on 2016), the 2018 Paris session was the biggest yet and, based on general feedback, also the most successful. Here is what some of the Australian attendees had to say:
As the world’s number one global power system event, the Paris session is unique in a number of ways. Instead of having papers presented, special reporters review them and produce questions that stimulate debate in dedicated open sessions for each of the 16 Study Committees. For those that want to talk to individual paper authors, there are poster sessions and for the first time large video screens were provided for each author to present their key findings. There was also a tutorial provided by each Study Committee on a topic of special interest. Both the poster sessions and tutorials had overwhelming support. When combined with a keynote address, opening panel discussions and workshops such as the major disturbance workshop that analysed major system or market disturbances that have occurred across the world in the last two years, it is easy to see why the Paris Session continues to grow and expand its audience.
The keynote address by AEMO Chief Executive (Audrey Zibelman) challenged the energy industry to become more agile if it is to meet the rapidly changing business and community needs. She provided an excellent overview of the power system changes many are experiencing including the impacts of rapidly evolving technology and increasing customer choice in the energy sector, in what is now a very dynamic environment.
Some items that stood out were:
- Regulatory bodies also need to be adaptable and nimble in a rapidly changing environment.
- If the industry is to attract & retain the best talent, it needs to be fully aware of and open to the use of the potential technical solutions and systems that are available.
- Organisations such as CIGRE have a key role to facilitate the industry in terms of technological change.
A continuing theme through the week related to the growing importance of distributed generation and how it is challenging traditional models for planning, design and operation of power systems. A new, well attended forum on the “Integrated Power System: Changing from Consumers to Prosumers” provided a great opportunity to explore this issue in more detail.
The new CIGRE branding initiative was also launched at the session, together with a new and improved web site. This global initiative is borrowing some of the ideas which CIGRE Australia has been implementing over the last four years so we will be tweaking our website and branding over time to come into line with the new corporate logos and branding.
A ‘CEO Forum’ was run for the first time during the session, attended by 102 CEO’s from 44 countries, as well as a ‘Women in Engineering Forum’, and a ‘Young Member Forum’ organised by the Next Generation Network, both of which were well attended. These forums provide useful feedback to CIGRE on what members are interested in and where they would like CIGRE to develop over the coming years.
CIGRE Paris plan to collate the information gathered and liaise with participants in the intervening two years to the next Session, to ensure that the ideas and suggestions are acted upon.