By Rod Walton, content director, Power Engineering and POWERGEN+ series
The skills gap, baby boomers and digital transformation. A perfect storm.
These are only three of the formidable and proverbial storm clouds looming our power generation sector as it eyes the future. Like all trades, it is going through an evolution in both people and technology.
Of the millions employed in electrical power generation, a large segment are 50 years or older, edging closer to retirement if not already there. Meanwhile, the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is bringing once undreamed innovation and change in technologies. The next-gen workforce must learn and grow with the leaps in instrumentation and controls.
All of this brings a true augmented sense of urgency. Utilities and their partners need a ready, adaptive, and long-term workforce to deal with the challenges of the 2020s and beyond.
POWERGEN+, the online content series, is tackling those issues next month. The POWERGEN+ focus on Workforce and Asset Management will be Feb. 17-18 at powergenplus.com. Registration is free.
Terry Donnelly, president and chief operating officer of Chicago-based ComEd, will deliver an 11 a.m. (ET) keynote on the workforce of the utility future and his own company’s efforts to support STEM education.
The two following editorial sessions on Wednesday, Feb. 17 will look at future workforce needs and challenges, as well planning and conquering scheduled power plant outages. The first session will feature experts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and Deloitte Consulting.
A second Feb. 17 session on Planning and Conquering Power Plant Outages will feature a leader from skilled-craftsman group Eastern Millwrights as well as a workforce relations leader with Exelon Generation.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, the POWERGEN+ sessions will look at both handling a utility workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Asset Management for Plant Life Extension. Project leaders from engineering, equipment and construction firms such as Sargent & Lundy and Babcock and Wilcox will lead the last session’s discussion with moderator Jay Dauenhauer, host of the Energy Cast podcast.
Below is the schedule for February series of POWERGEN+.
Wednesday, Feb. 17 (all times ET)
10:55 a.m.-Welcome by host Clarion Energy.
11 a.m.: Keynote by Terry Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd.
12:30-1:15 p.m.-Future Power Plant Workforce Needs and Challenges, featuring Thomas Sarkus (pictured above, upper left), industrial partnerships manager for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Victor Reyes, managing director of Deloitte’s Human Capital Practice with emphasis on energy.
3:30-4:15 p.m.-Planning and Conquering Power Plant Outages, featuring John Del Sordi, Jr., senior regional director, Eastern Millwrights (above, lower left), and Michael Shue, labor relations programs manager, Exelon (upper right).
Thursday, Feb. 18
10:55 a.m.-Welcome by Clarion Energy
12:30-1:15 p.m.-COVID 19 Era Workforce Management, utility speakers to be announced soon.
3:30-4:15 p.m.- Asset management for Plant Life Extension, featuring Eric Soderlund, vice president at Sargent & Lundy, and Denis Osowski, director of technology development at Babcock & Wilcox. Moderated by Jay Dauenhauer, host of the Energy Cast podcast.