Cover Feature: Big Issues, Big Show in the Big Easy

Issue 11 and Volume 111.

Hear that? It’s the world’s largest power industry event. You might also hear a little jazz as New Orleans welcomes you back.

By Steve Blankinship, Associate Editor

The Big Easy is the location for the world’s largest power industry event at a time when the industry faces big challenges that are proving to be anything but easy. Concerns over global warming and constrained energy resources create unprecedented dilemmas for power generators. Other issues include tightening fuel supplies and shortages of capital, materials and engineering/construction talent. All this comes at a time when world demand for electricity is soaring – both in total numbers and on a per-capita basis.

It’s a lot to deal with, but POWER-GEN International is where the world’s power industry leaders traditionally gather to grapple with the challenges they face. This year’s event will include a tour of host-utility Entergy’s Waterford 3 nuclear plant, especially appropriate since POWER-GEN International 2007 also hosts NUCLEAR POWER International (NPI), debuting as a co-located event and soon to expand as a fully stand-alone conference and exhibition. NPI, which takes place December 11-12, is being launched just as the first of what will likely be more than a dozen applications for combined construction and operating licenses (COLs) are being filed with regulators to build the first new nuclear plants in the United States in decades.

The issues facing the industry are big and the solutions may not be easy. But the Big Easy offers a welcoming venue for discussion and deal-making at POWER-GEN International. Click here to enlarge image

Your PGI registration automatically enables you to attend NPI, whose sessions include “Technical Challenges at Existing Plants”; “Material Condition Solutions”; “Large Component Replacement and Repair”; “Large Steam Turbines for New Nuclear Unit Applications”; “IT Solutions to Nuclear Plant Problems”; and the latest on the APWR, ESBWR, AWBR, AP-1000, EPR and the APR 1400 designs.

Keynote Kickoff

PGI formally kicks off Tuesday, December 11 at 9:30 a.m. sharp with the keynote session. Keynote speakers are Andrew Kruger, vice president of Greenhouse Gas Services at Evolution Markets Inc.; Nicholas Akins, executive vice president-generation at American Electric Power; J. Wayne Leonard, chairman and CEO of Entergy Corp.; Andrew White, president and CEO of GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy; and Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace.

POWER-GEN International Keynote Session speakers include (clockwise from top left) Nick Akins, Executive Vice President, Generation, AEP; Andrew Kruger, Vice President, Evolution Markets; Patrick Moore, Greenpeace founder; Andy White, President and CEO, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy; and J. Wayne Leonard, Chairman and CEO, Entergy Corp. Click here to enlarge image

Kruger – an experienced emissions broker and trader – provides strategic counsel and brokerage services to participants in global carbon markets. He is an environmental engineer and attorney with 20 years of emissions trading and brokering experience. He has helped governments design markets for greenhouse gas emissions trading. Kruger now helps corporations develop risk management approaches to emerging carbon trading markets and helps structure trading in the global carbon trading market under the Kyoto Protocol and voluntary carbon credit purchased in the U.S.

Akins is responsible for all of AEP’s fossil, hydro and nuclear power production. He was previously president and chief operating officer for AEP’s Shreveport, La.-based Southwestern Electric Power Co. He will discuss AEP’s fuel diversity, its pursuit of new generation, the company’s position on environmental issues and how AEP may address the possibility of carbon regulation.

Leonard was named CEO of Entergy in 1999. Under his direction, Entergy completed the first U.S. purchase of a nuclear plant, Indian Point from the New York Power Authority. The company has since purchased four more nuclear units from other utilities. During the eight years Leonard has led Entergy, the company has achieved the highest total shareholder return in the industry. Before joining Entergy, Leonard was president of the Energy Commodities Strategic Business Unit and Cinergy Capital & Trading and later, group vice president and chief financial officer at Cinergy. Leonard will detail how Entergy has been recovering from Hurricane Katrina and also will discuss the company’s current nuclear fleet and prospects for further development of nuclear energy.

Andy White was named president and CEO of GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy in January 2003. He has 25 years of experience with GE. He has served in both engineering and senior management positions in services and power generation projects throughout GE’s Energy and Industrial businesses. White has been located in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas. He serves on the boards of directors of the World Nuclear Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, GE Healthcare and Global Nuclear Fuel. In 2002, he was named a Corporate Officer of the General Electric Co.

Dr. Patrick Moore has been a leader in the international environmental field for over 30 years. He is a co-founder of Greenpeace and served for nine years as President of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a director of Greenpeace International. As the leader of many campaigns, Dr. Moore was a driving force shaping policy and direction while Greenpeace became one of the world’s largest environmental activist organization. In recent years, Dr. Moore has focused on promoting sustainability and consensus building among competing concerns. He was a member of British Columbia’s government-appointed Round Table on the Environment and Economy from 1990 to 1994. In 1990, Dr. Moore founded and chaired the BC Carbon Project, a group that worked to develop a common understanding of climate change.

Following the keynote session, the doors open on more than 1,100 exhibits located on the PGI 2007 exhibit floor. The first round of more than 30 technical sessions and panels gets underway at 1:30 p.m. More than 125 papers and presentations in 11 subject tracks will be presented over the three days, many to standing-room-only audiences.

Two sessions on Wednesday could be particularly timely to utilities and other generating asset developers in light of evolving energy markets. “Asset Optimization – Changing Markets, Managing Risks” (9:30-11:30) offers four papers on asset optimization driven by markets, evolving plant technologies, environmental and business risks. Presenters include The Shaw Group, Solomon Associates, Dynegy Midwest Generation, NeuCo and Sigma Energy Solutions. At 1:30, the session “Evolving Generation Strategies” examines project ownership, new market tax credits, integrated technologies, life cycle management strategies and how to deal with the equipment supply market. Presenters include Siemens Power Generation, Lane Powell PC, Wärtsilä North America, the American Wind Energy Association and BCP Engineers & Consultants.

No issue is more timely than the potential for requiring carbon capture and sequestration. “Solutions for a Carbon Constrained Future” (Wednesday, 9:30-11:30) presents approaches and new technologies to address anticipated carbon regulations. A panel discussion on a related topic, “Greenhouse Gas Regulation: The Future Is Now,” will take place Wednesday beginning at 1:30. Panelists include representatives of the power industry, regulators, consultants and legal advisors, all focusing exclusively on greenhouse gas issues.

Also worth noting is the session “Technological Advances in Renewable Energy Systems” (Tuesday, 1:30-3:30), which provides an overview of new technological developments that could further advance renewable energy systems, including energy storage, micro-turbines and large-scale offshore wind. A companion session, “Addressing the Challenges of Renewable Energy Grid Integration” (Tuesday, 1:30-3:30) explores the technical issues for integrating renewable energy resources into utility networks and coordinating their use with conventional generating assets.

In addition to the regular sessions, 14 competitive power courses are being offered on Sunday, December 9 and Monday, December 10. Prices for Competitive Power College Courses range from $400 to $850 per person.

Networking, Networking and More Networking

PGI continues to offer more networking opportunities and special events than any other power event in the world. The second annual Power Engineering magazine Projects of the Year Awards banquet will be held Monday, December 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Armstrong Room of the Sheraton Hotel. Introduced in 2006, the Projects of the Year Awards banquet honors excellence in the design and construction of power generation facilities worldwide. Selected by Power Engineering magazine’s editors, awards will be presented in four categories, including best coal-fired project, best gas-fired project, best renewables project and best nuclear project. Price for the awards banquet is $75 per person.

Networking is always on the menu at POWER-GEN International. You’ll find ample opportunity at networking breakfasts, at a delegate lunch table on the exhibit floor or before or after an informative conference session. Click here to enlarge image

The Power Engineering Exhibit Floor Reception takes place Tuesday from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. This free reception is open to all.

The traditional POWER-GEN International Networking Reception takes place Wednesday on the Exhibit Floor from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. The reception features hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and entertainment. Make plans to attend this highly valuable networking event and establish new business contacts or chat with old acquaintances. Cost is $40 per person.

For early-day networking, PGI will again present two days of networking breakfasts. The breakfasts, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 A.M. until 9 A.M., offer participants a chance to join table discussions organized around more than a dozen power industry topics. These include gas turbines, distributed generation and on-site power, power industry trends, plant operations and maintenance, nuclear power, fossil technologies, renewable energy, competitive power generation, heat recovery steam generators and emerging technologies. Cost is $50 per person.

Mega-sessions and More

POWER-GEN International concludes Thursday morning December 13 with three mega-sessions that begin at 9:30 and run until 11:30.

Three days of conference sessions include technical papers and panel discussions in 11 different tracks and three cutting-edge Mega-sessions. NUCLEAR POWER International offers still more sessions and exhibits.

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A panel discussion titled “Gasification, Synfuels and Carbon Capture – Effects on the Power Industry,” will feature speakers from Alston & Byrd, Bechtel Power, Booz Allen Hamilton, ConocoPhillips and GE Energy.

The mega-session “Large Frame Gas Turbines” will feature a presentation on further retrofit upgrades for ALSTOM’s sequential combustion GT24 gas turbine; one on SGT6-5000F technology enhancements presented by Siemens; an update on commissioning Mitsubishi FS large Frame 50 and 60HZ G-Series gas turbine upgrades; a panel discussion on combined cycle flexibility; and an update on design and operating experience of low Btu gas firing GTS for steel works.

A third mega-session, “Preparing for Disaster, Hardening Physical and Data Assets” will be a panel discussion on lessons learned from natural and cyber disasters and how to protect mission critical assets, respond to catastrophic occurrences and recover from them.

Win a 2007 ‘Vette! This year’s POWER-GEN International official exhibit floor giveaway is a sleek 2007 Corvette. Entering to win is easy. Just visit the exhibit floor, have your entry card stamped by sponsoring companies and turn it in for your chance to drive away in style. Details are available at www.power-eng.com. Click here to enlarge image

And before leaving POWER-GEN, make sure you have visited each Corvette giveaway sponsor booth to have your 2008 Corvette entry form stamped. Once your entry is completed, bring it to the PennWell booth for your chance to win the car. Look for the entry form in your registration material and be sure to be present for the drawing, which will take place at the PennWell booth at the close of POWER-GEN International on December 13.