The Expo is a global event with products from around the world for the power industry.

Purpose, Connection and Discovery in New Orleans

Feb. 21, 2022
The IEEE PES Transmission and Distribution Conference and Expo returns in 2022 with a theme based around power in our lives.
After two years of virtual events, postponements and cancellations, the IEEE PES Transmission and Distribution Conference and Expo is set to open live and in-person this April in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. COVID-19 came on the scene in early 2020, and IEEE PES judiciously canceled its 2020 event that was to be held in Chicago in April of that year.

This year, the event plans to follow all precautions and regulations required by the city of New Orleans and in accordance with the CDC guidelines to make for a safe and exciting event.

“Folks in the industry are anxious to get together,” said Carl Segneri, vice president, business development for M.J. Electric, and IEEE PES North America, T&D Director. “The pace of change is incredible, and T&D is excited to help capture these industry trends by bringing the key players, contributors and stakeholders together to learn, socialize and network.”

Segneri said that the city of New Orleans is committed to a very successful Mardi Gras this year. “We plan to ride those coattails. We continue to monitor the evolution of the situation but remain optimistic on proceeding with our plans.”

In addition to IEEE Power & Energy Society, the conference and expo is supported and planned by volunteers from the industry, including leadership from a local host utility, which helps ensure insights and solutions delivered to attendees are relevant and impactful to their day-to-day work. Entergy will be the host utility this year, and according to Segneri, the local organizing team under the leadership of Entergy’s Michelle Bourg has put a lot of effort and passion into making this “a conference that people want to attend.”

The area around the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center conference center has benefited from some major aesthetic and transportation upgrades as well, said Segneri. The convention center is home to America's largest contiguous-space exhibit hall with 1.1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space. It is minutes from the world-famous French Quarter and the iconic Mississippi River.

“They are ready for us. New Orleans is a vibrant city that knows how to party,” Segneri said.

The theme for the 2022 event is based around power in our lives, as the reliance on the electric grid “grows more critical than ever before,” said Segneri. “Our marketing messages have stressed the Power theme: Power in Purpose, Power in Connections, Power in Discovery.”

IEEE PES stresses how the T&D community has shown resilience throughout recent challenges, including the pandemic and climate-related disruptions. By attending this event, utility professionals can prepare for what’s ahead through educational sessions, technical tours and exploring technologies.

Utilities have the options this year of taking advantage of a Utility Bundle registration package. “Utilities can register 10 employees for $1000, an incredible savings,” Segneri said. “Utilities can buy as many bundles of 10 as they wish. We sold over 110 bundles for the 2020 Conference, so we know it is a desirable option.”

Power in Education

By attending the 2022 IEEE PES T&D Conference and Exposition, utility professionals can learn from world experts while also earning professional development hours or continuing education units. The conference includes poster presentations, forums, panel discussions, super sessions and tutorials.

“The IEEE T&D Conference provides an opportunity for engineers, practitioners and academics to bring their best practices, research results and futuristic tools to the attention of power engineers in the technical conference part of the T&D Conference,” said Saifur Rahman, Ph.D., past president of the IEEE PES and a Joseph Loring professor and director of the VT Advanced Research Institute.

Over the course of three days, attendees can learn about everything from artificial intelligence to distributed energy resources. The opening session will kick off with a panel moderated by Jessica Bian, VP at Grid X-Partners and current IEEE PES president. The panel of industry icons includes Ed Schweitzer III, owner and founder of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories; Paul Hinnenkamp, COO of Entergy; Allison Silverstein, independent consultant and industry strategist with key contributions including work at FERC and DOE; and Damir Novosel, president of Quanta Technology and previous president of IEEE PES. The panel topic will be The Past Powering the Future. “It’s a look at what we predicted in the past, how it has it turned out and where we are going,” Segneri said.

The super sessions are the anchor of the broad technical program. They will cover three topics this year: data analytics, resiliency and the future grid. 

Panel sessions this year cover numerous topics, but some key presentations include:

“The combination of a world-class technical program and the most influential manufacturers and suppliers in the industry make the T&D Conference the one conference that you have to attend,” Segneri said.

Power in Technology

In addition to the technical program with paper and panel sessions, the event also features a large-scale expo showcasing equipment, software and services representing distribution, transmission and generation areas of the electric power industry.

“As an academic working on research projects to explore solutions to the issues the power industry will face in the future, I always enjoy hardware displays that show the state-of-the-art equipment ready to enter the market,” said Rahman, who urges the conference attendees to find the time to walk the show floor as much as possible. “I always ask the engineers why they build something the way they did it.”

The T&D Expo has the largest collection of exhibitors covering the broad range of transmission, distribution, substation, smart grid, distributed generation, etc., according to Segneri. “

“If you have not seen this place, you will be blown away by the floats, artwork and history that makes Mardi Gras one of the most fun events in the world,” Segneri said.

Other networking opportunities to meet old friends and make new acquaintances include networking lunches, another networking reception, a closing reception and various exhibitor events.

By registering for the IEEE PES T&D Conference and Exposition, professionals can build new connections and expand their knowledge, Segneri said. He said if they can only go to one electric utility conference, then the IEEE PES T&D Conference is the best place to go. “Can’t wait to see you in New Orleans in April.”

Editor's Note: To see the latest exhibitor list and floor map, as well as the full schedule for the show, visit https://www.ieeet-d.org.

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