The 25th POWER-GEN and Renewable Energy World Europe, the leading conference and exhibition for the international power and renewable industries, opened yesterday with energetic debates from industry leaders and the opening keynote, which included a major announcement about the future of the event.
The opening day saw more than 8,400 visitors attend the Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany for the show's milestone 25th anniversary. Speakers included some of the power sector's key decision makers who debated the challenges and opportunities of today's environment.
A welcome address from International Conference Director, Nigel Blackaby, kicked-off the conference. Mr Blackaby spoke about the energy transition and the transformational role that electricity will play in the future of Europe's energy supply. Later in the session, Glenn Ensor, Managing Director at PennWell International, unveiled the opening of Electrify Europe. The world's first event dedicated to the convergence in the power generation and transmission and distribution sectors, Electrify Europe is driven by digitisation, decentralisation, electrification and customer engagement.
The first keynote came from Dr Frank-Michael Baumann, Managing Director of the Energy Agency North Rhine Westphalia, who stated that "for a secure, environmentally friendly and affordable energy supply, it is essential we have a reliable political framework, effective transition management and logical power market design."
Mr Carlo Pignoloni, Head of Italy, Iberia, East Europe & North Africa, Enel Green Power, followed with insight on the increasing importance of renewables and stated that the "combination of technology and resources are allowing the expansion of sustainable energy generation".
Next, Andree Stracke, Chief Commercial Officer, RWE Supply and Trading, said: "There will be consolidation of the market, there is no doubt."
The final address by Kristian Ruby, Secretary General, EURELECTRIC, provided an overview of Europe's power industry, emphasising the opportunity for power as the industry continues its drive for decarbonisation.
The highly anticipated Joint Plenary Discussion featured a lively debate between a line-up of policy makers, industry experts and educators and explored the challenges and opportunities of digitisation. Speakers included experts from EnBW, the European Commission, GE, KU Leuven Energy Institute and Siemens. The session was moderated by TV presenter, social media influencer and technology blogger, LJ Rich who used her extensive technological background to lead the panel. The main themes deliberated included the digitalisation of solar, smart metering, electric vehicles and cyber security. The experts agreed that digitalisation needs to be embraced, and although there was some scepticism, there was consensus that with collaboration and the correct regulations it has the potential to enable more efficient, reliable and safer power generation.
Alongside the conference programme, more than 430 exhibitors showcased their innovations across the 284,000m² exhibition floor.
"This was an exceptional day full of expert insights across the industry," Mr Blackaby remarked. "At this time of transition and change, not just in the power industry, it's crucial to be aware of the challenges we may face and how best to work together and share the knowledge we have to overcome them."
There are two further days of POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe. Wednesday brings the first day of conference sessions, as well as many exciting discussions in the free-to-attend presentation arenas.
Register in the foyer of the Koelnmesse or on the POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe website.