New Orleans is the most European of U.S. cities, a low-lying port founded by the French, run by the Spanish for a time and long one of America’s most popular destinations for tourists.
It’s the entry and exit point for ships on global commercial voyages to and from the U.S. It has great ties to the transport of agriculture and energy.
All of these points, but especially the last one, make it a great spot to host POWERGEN International next week. The event has enjoyed and gained much from its usual destinations of Orlando and Las Vegas, but coming to New Orleans for the first time in 12 years is a rare treat.
As the Cajuns and the Cars sometimes say, let the good times roll, but mind your Ps and Qs in the Crescent City. We made that last part up, but it holds true that New Orleans offers an A to Z of food, music and fun opportunities. You just need to keep it between the buoys, boys and girls.
Below is a somewhat orderly alphabet soup of what POWERGEN means when it hits town this week. Consider this some “lagniappe,” or what locals sometime say to mean “a little something extra.”
A is for Archie Manning, the New Orleans legend and football hall of famer who will be POWERGEN’s keynote speaker on Tuesday. Come prepared for stories on family, leadership, his own career, overcoming tragedy and, yes, his famous quarterback sons.
B is for Better Balance, the Wednesday luncheon where great women in the power sector will be honored. It could be also be Boiler Code and Beignets, sponsored by exhibitor Clark-Reliance to give plant pros and partners a chance to mingle over coffee, powered sugar pasties and the latest in industry standards.
C is Conventional Power and Coal-Fired Generation, as in the present and future of both. POWERGEN will offer no less than five summits and hubs devoted to these subjects.
D is for Decentralized Energy. Yes, the event has plenty of power plant operations sessions, but it is also strong in energy storage breakthroughs, microgrids and on-site power. If it generates, we venerate.
E is for Entergy Corp., POWERGEN’s host utility. Entergy not only welcomes more than 10,000 attendees to its hometown of New Orleans, but it also is contributing a Wednesday keynote speaker in COO Paul Hinnenkamp, other session speakers and tours of its St. Charles gas-fired plant and solar-storage pilot project.
F is for the French Quarter. Take a little stroll and you’ll be there in no time. The best in food, music and people watching. But F could also for the Floor, as in the 180,000-square-foot exhibit space featuring more than 800 companies, six Knowledge Hubs and plenty of networking-meeting space through our MATCH! and Connect offerings.
G is for Gas, the fastest growing part of the electricity generation mix. POWERGEN has a Natural Gas Knowledge Hub featuring technical content but also forward-looking talks on the LNG potential impact to global power generation. Upstairs it will also have the summit track on Gas-fired Turbines and Plants.
H is for Hydrogen. Is it the next, carbon-free chapter in the turbine power story? Presenters from major power firms will talk about electrolysis and hydrogen in various sessions, while the Italian Trade Agency also will sponsor a special session Tuesday on “The Future of Hydrogen and the Power Industry.”
I is for Initiate! POWERGEN is proud to have hundreds of established industry companies involved, but also wants to be a breeding ground for startups. Eight of them will be vying Tuesday for the favor of expert judges in Booth 800. Who are the next innovators first made known here? The Initiate! winners will be revealed on Wednesday.
J is for Jazz. You’ll find plenty of that in clubs on Bourbon Street, Frenchman Street and beyond. You might even get to hear it live in the Morial Conventional Center at POWERGEN. Wait and listen.
K is for Knowledge. More than 90 sessions in total, featuring about 130 expert speakers, will be available from Monday through Thursday. We’re talking seven Summit tracks, nearly 70 Knowledge Hub sessions, three Mega-Sessions, three keynote speakers (including Chris Moser, head of operations with NRG Energy), five co-located events involving power generation insiders from close to a dozen nations. Throw in POWERGEN University on Monday, and you’ve got approximately 100 hours of content from which to choose. Maybe K should also stand for Komprehensive…but we’d be getting off track from the spelling lesson.
L is for Large-scale. No other annual power generation conference details as many utility-level projects and viewpoints as POWERGEN. Whether it’s a revived gas-fired plant in south Texas or an enormous microgrid for a pork processing plant in Mexico, or a microgrid cluster in Chicago …or… cycling the modern coal-fired plant, the case studies go big before going home.
M is for Mega-sessions. POWERGEN has three: 1) A look at microgrid opportunities and challenges Wednesday afternoon, featuring Duke Energy, ComEd and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories; 2) capital project trends and overview from Industrial Info Resources, focused on energy and power plants; and 3) an “Across All Sectors” high-level view from Black & Veatch, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Ameresco. These leaders will offer insights on gas-fired power, energy storage, EPC trends and more.
N is for Networking. Meet and greet is its own industry at POWERGEN. Any visitor can walk around the exhibit floor and be captivated, almost overwhelmed, by all the conversations going on, and yet there’s more in MATCH!, Networking on Tap receptions, Powerful Young Professionals Happy Hour, the Contractors Crawl, Breakfast Roundtables, the aforementioned Lunch for Better Balance, and the Tuesday party at Mardi Gras World, sponsored by POWERGEN parent Clarion Energy. Mardi Gras World is where the floats get made. It’s big time.
O is for Optimizing Plant Performance and On-Site Power, two of the biggest reasons for having POWERGEN in the first place. These Summit tracks offer sessions focused on O&M challenges, best practices, innovation, combined heat and power and much more.
P is for Purpose. No, that’s not the catchy or corny name of a program, but the very heart of why people come to the event. Meeting potential clients, firming up new partnerships, renewing old friendships and learning the latest in the industry they love–that’s why people come to POWERGEN.
Q is for Quality. Sensing a theme here lately? This is what attendees aim for, whether it’s better air and water, power efficiency, capacity factors, safety, data and service. Getting to know high-quality people is a net win, too.
R is for Renewables. POWERGEN has long been focused on conventional power, but it also sees the future. Wind and solar capacity is growing by hundreds of GW as much of the world races to reduce or limit carbon emissions in the wake of climate change. POWERGEN will have Knowledge Hub sessions in onshore and offshore wind, as well as solar content. Meanwhile, the nearby Hydropower Hub will offer two days of deep dives into the original renewable energy resource.
S is for Social Media. #POWERGEN19. Hashtag, you’re it. Know it. Love it. Use it. Please.
T is for Turbines. They still make much of the world go round, folks. Industry giants Siemens, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Doosan Heavy Industries, Ansaldo Energia and GE all will be involved, either as presenters or exhibitors or both.
U is for Utilities. Close to 100 power generators will be sending people to New Orleans. More than 30 will be speakers from utilities such as Southern Co., Duke, Avista, Cleco. Entergy, ComEd, NRG, Salt River Project and many more. U is also for Universities. This may be Unprecedented for POWERGEN, offering energy sessions from experts at Tulane, New Orleans and Texas Tech University. Class is in session soon.
V is for Voices. Many will be heard in the Morial Convention Center hallways, in exhibit booths, Summit rooms, Hubs and restaurants. And they will be talking about how to make the power generation sector ever better, cleaner, more reliable and vibrant. Later they’ll be talking about where to get drinks and dinner… and making the power better. Dialogue is good.
W is for Wind. This is the utility-scale renewable energy growing at the fastest rate. Happy to have Southwestern Electric Power Co., Mercom Capital, Enel Green Power, Black & Veatch, National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, National Ocean Industries Association, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Wood, Ameresco and Synergy Project Solutions.
X is for ….well, this is a difficult one. X marks the spot but it doesn’t start a whole lot of words, except xylophone. OK, X is the Roman numeral for 10, such as the number of companies which are POWERGEN’s top-level sponsors. FPT Powertrain Technologies, AECOM, Power Solutions International-Weichai, Aska Power Generation, Black & Veatch, ABB, Uniper, Travelers Alliance Group, John Cockerill and the Italian Trade Agency. We think they are pretty Xcellent.
Y is for Y ask Y? What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans… Just kidding. Be safe and smart.
Z is for Zydeco, because in New Orleans, well, it all comes back to music. Jazz is better known, but this combination of piano, accordion and washboard rhythms can also be found at various clubs within the city. And it helps us conclude this journey through the alphabet. Now you know…
Hope to see you in a few days where we can recite them together again at POWERGEN International.
(Rod Walton is content director for POWERGEN International and Power Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]).