The 23rd International Conference and Exhibition in Lyon last month was organized by the Association des Ingénieurs sortis de I’Institute d’Electricité Montefiore (AIM) in Belgium. This major international event for the distribution industry continues to attract increasing global interest in the terms on the number of contributors to the Technical Programme, delegate attendance and the number of Companies participating in the supporting Exhibition.
The venue in Lyon the second largest city in France was the Cite International an excellent facility located on the banks of the River Rhone. Lyon is a beautiful city in every respect and the integrated transport system that includes the metro with automated trains, trams, trolley buses and two funicular railways must be among the best in the world. This made travel to and from the City Center to Conference facility easy and relatively inexpensive.
I together with Pat was once again delighted to represent the Magazine in the Technical Sessions and on the Magazine’s Booth in the Exhibition. The Opening Ceremony and Reception held on Sunday 15th June was followed by the three-day Programme of Technical Sessions, Research and Innovation Forum Meetings and the now familiar and very well managed Poster Sessions. The Belgian Organizing Committee did an admirable job selecting some 50% of 1600 plus contributions received for the Technical Programme that presents Papers in full day Sessions for each of the six main topics.
CIRED 2015 attracted some 1300 delegates travelling from across the globe from 49 countries stretching from Brazil to Taiwan, Russia to New Zealand. Similarly, there was a record number of Exhibitors with Companies from every continent represented.
Session 1 that presented Network Components included Papers dealing with the asset management of cables and overhead lines, diagnosis and maintenance of transformers and switchgear in addition to innovation of all network components including smart grid solutions and applications. Power Quality was the main topic for Session 2 dealing with network earthing, lightning protection, harmonics, voltage variations and power quality monitoring techniques. All these topics are now more relevant since the introduction of distributed generation.
Session 3 originally attracted almost 500 contributions on Operation, Control and Protection with 150 being accepted for the Conference. Operations covered maintenance and condition assessment, distribution management, blackout prevention and crisis management. MV and LV Network Automation was the key Control topic under discussion involving distribution system management and communication systems while fault detection and location together with protection systems for networks with distributed generation, storage and electric vehicles were among the Protection issues discussed.
Session 4 programmed to cover Distributed Energy Resources and Active Demand Integration featured innovative technologies and solutions and smart grid demonstrations. The majority of the presentations had strong links to the ‘Smart Grid’ message from metering, customer perceptions to reports and results from the numerous network demonstration projects currently in progress. The Planning of Power Distribution Systems (Session 5) included risk assessment and asset management but the majority of the accepted contributions on Network and Distribution Planning had strong links to designing networks to cater for all forms of distributed generation.
Finally Session 6, Challenges of DSO Regulation and Competitive Markets had topics that again covered smart grid projects, meter data and security, energy tariffs and reports indicating the need for direct interaction with customers in order to secure the cost-benefits from all the smart grid technologies.
The staging of the Poster Sessions was excellent resulting in this well managed feature of the Conference being appreciated by the contributing authors and very well supported by the delegates. As expected the majority of papers on display were contributions from utility staff but the volume of R & D work being conducted at University level was very apparent providing a strong indication of the innovative technologies the industry will be introducing in the next decade. In particular the impact of .distributed generation, energy storage, electric vehicles and smart grids in general is certainly capturing the interest of University post-graduates.
The Exhibition, the largest ever staged at a CIRED Conference included all the industry major players, namely ABB, GE, Schneider Electric, SIEMENS, G & W, 3M’s and NEXANS. Delegates were able to view, handle and discuss all the equipment that is installed on distribution networks. The response of the manufacturers to the smart grid phenomena was evident throughout the Exhibition and there were a large number of companies who manufacture the instrumentation, testing and diagnostic equipment used for asset management. For overhead line engineers there was the opportunity to examine lightning protection equipment, discuss the use of UAV’s and the equipment now available to provide real-time load transfer capability. Those companies specializing in the design and manufacture of the automation and communication software were also in attendance together with Consultants and Universities who offer services to support distribution utilities.
The choice of Lyon as the venue for the 23rd CIRED Conference and Exhibition proved to be an excellent choice. At the Opening Ceremony it became apparent that the city is a European leader in the field of local energy policies and smart cities. Its future objectives include a 50% reduction in energy, 50 % of energy from solar and 80% from renewable energy resources. With eleven smart grid projects currently in progress supported by ERDF, Lyon aims to be the first French Smart City and the Most Advanced City in Europe. (Perhaps these are the reasons why Lyon was chosen)
CIRED is an important international event that attracts the hands- on engineering staff from distribution utilities as well as research and academic delegates and the industry’s major manufacturers all keen to learn and benefit from those responsible for the continuing development of distribution networks.
‘Smart Grids’ appeared to be the pre-dominant key topic for the Technical Sessions and in the Exhibition. As discussed previously it is often, if not generally considered to apply solely to the development of distribution networks and not to the complete energy highways from the generator to the customer.
Personally I still consider that ‘Smart Grids’ were established by the industry’s forefathers who had the vision and technical knowledge to establish the transmission systems and distribution networks of yesteryear. Without the benefit of all the 21st century technology they remain in service forming the backbone of the existing systems designed in such a way that we continue to develop techniques (Asset Management) to extend their service life. Also, in the current utility/company accounts the accountants should assign a zero value to these ‘time-expired’ capital assets.
The Magazine’s presence at CIRED 2015 was again valuable giving me the opportunity to meet potential utility authors for the future, renew friendships and meet contributing authors for the first time. This year I met Jose Luis Martinez from Edenor (Argentina) whose Article was published in the October 2014 Issue and to his delight his photograph in which he featured was one of the Stand’s Cover Pages on display. At each Exhibition that I attend it is a pleasure to meet our readers and receive their compliments on the quality and content of the publication. (Incidentally, apart from Wiley Books, TDW was the only publisher in the Exhibition).
We now look forward to the 24th CIRED Conference and Exhibition organized by the IET (London) that will be held in Glasgow in June 2017.