An Event as Big as Texas

Now that the final numbers are tallied, go ahead and chalk up another success for the IEEE/PES T&D Conference and Exhibition. Held in Dallas, Texas, U.S., Sept. 7-12, 2003, the event drew 10,280 visitors from 44 countries (in fact, seven translators were on hand to assist). Vendor participation exceeded 500, and news media coverage was received from as far as Germany and Brazil. This year's conference and exhibition certainly lived up to its theme, “Blazing Trails in Energy Delivery and Services.” Thanks to a team of almost 400 Oncor employees who volunteered their time and talent behind the scenes, attendees received first-class service. Following are some of the 2003 IEEE/PES T&D Conference and Expo highlights.

Opening Reception and Ceremony

The conference and expo opened with a bang — literally. On Sunday evening, September 7, more than 1000 guests were transported back to the days of the Wild West at Eddie Deen's Ranch. Mock gunfights, live armadillo racing and buffet tables laden with an assortment of Southwest, Cajun and Mexican cuisine were just a few of the attractions visitors enjoyed. Audience participation was strongly encouraged, from singing on stage to dancing and calf roping. Photo ops on top of Texas, the world-famous Longhorn steer, also proved popular.

The opening ceremony on Monday morning, September 8, was as exciting as the opening reception. Gunslingers and cowboys continued the Wild West theme, as did the band that escorted attendees from the opening session to the exhibit floor while playing “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You.”

Keynote Speakers and the Blackout

Not surprisingly, the recent Northeast blackout was the hot topic of discussion at the show. Three prominent industry policy-makers addressed the impact of the blackout during Monday's opening session. Joe Barton (A), opening speaker and chairman of the House Energy and Air Quality subcommittee, predicted that major changes will occur in Washington as a result of the blackout. He expects to see action in the upcoming energy bill include the restructuring of PUCHA to bring more capital into the power-delivery business; maintaining the FERC movement to provide increased financial incentives for constructing power lines; providing federal backstop rights to force stalled regional transmission construction; and making NERC standards mandatory.

Alan Richardson (B), CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA), spoke next, citing four tenets the power industry must grasp:

  • Electricity is not a commodity, it is a phenomenon.

  • Public sentiment surpasses regulatory theory every time.

  • Reliability requires redundancy. Redundancy is not a surplus.

  • Transmission is the weakest link in providing regional reliability.

Tom Kuhn (C), president of Edison Electric Institute, applauded those in the audience who helped restore the transmission systems so quickly after the August blackout. He went on to say that getting our system back on track could require as much as US$50 billion over a 10-year span.

Poster Sessions and Exhibition

This year's 168 poster sessions took a more casual approach, allowing attendees to dialog firsthand with presenters and get details on leading-edge applications in an informal setting. Some of the topics covered included: Distribution Voltage Quality at Hydro-Quebec; The Propagation of Disturbances in Power Distribution Systems; and Total Transfer Capability Considering FACTS and Security Constraints.

The show floor also gave engineers from around the world the opportunity to network and exchange ideas in an informal setting. Traditional devices, such as poles, insulators and conductors, were on display, as was outdoor equipment, including transformers, power circuit breakers and switchgear.

Substations vendors displayed the latest advancements in microprocessor devices, and the presence and strength of the transmission industry was apparent in the number of high-voltage and extra-high-voltage switches, insulators and structures displayed.

On to New Orleans in 2005

The 2003 IEEE/PES T&D Conference and Exhibition was laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon, September 10. Tommy Mayne, the general chairman of the 2005 IEEE/PES T&D Conference and Exhibition, led a traditional Jazz funeral procession — replete with beads, music and, of course, food — through the Dallas Convention Center Exhibit Hall to close out the old and prepare for the next big celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., in 2005. In true Naw'lins style, the 2005 New Orleans committee invited attendees to join it and the 2003 Dallas committee in following the jazz band in a “Second Line” procession to bury the 2003 conference and exhibition and lead on to the 2005 event in New Orleans.

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