FREE-to-attend Hub Sessions explore innovations and technologies transforming the energy landscape, allowing attendees to network in an exclusive topic-led setting, right on the exhibition floor!
The power sector is getting stretched like never before. Rooftop and community solar, batteries and other storage options are contributing to this movement, allowing customers to be prosumers of their energy. Microgrids are creating generation islands, able to help critical functions continue even during outages. Meanwhile, gensets of various fuel types are also acting as key backup resources and to help mitigate the intermittency of weather-related resources. It’s a brave new world with an ever evolving learning curve. This hub seeks to bring the grid diffusion into clearer focus.
Hydro is the original clean energy resource, first generating power for industrial processes as far back as the 18th century. Its modern towers include iconic sites such as Hoover, Grand Coulee and, most recently, the Three Gorges Dam in China. Hydropower accounts for nearly half of total U.S. renewable electricity capacity. It speaks from a glorious past of massive infrastructural undertaking, a present of crucial generation capacity and a future attracting new ways of harnessing water’s energy.
Gas-fired power is seizing the day not only in massive generation plants, but also in smaller, more adaptive ways and in on-site power. The shale revolution and historic production are also opening natural gas to generation markets from the U.S. to the world. What are the many ways that gas supply and gas infrastructure are reshaping power generation?
The modern power plant contains many of the same components it's had for decades: boilers, gensets, cooling towers, pumps, etc. But the sensors and software which keep watch are expanding in scope, intricacy and data volume. Interconnectedness and communication systems vastly improve efficiencies, but also widen the vulnerabilities to outside intruders such as hackers. And advancing at the edges are new technologies in artificial intelligence and beyond. The brave new world offers rewards and risks.
There are more than 62,000 power plants operating in the world today. At least two-thirds of those are conventional power plants using steam turbine generators. The once and future impact of coal, gas and nuclear is undeniable and crucial to the generation mix. Some producers are experimenting with alternative fuel sources for the conventional plant. Above all, keeping it functional and adaptive is the task for power planners everywhere.
The deployment of renewable energy is growing exponentially through the world, spurred by falling prices and customer demand for cleaner energy. Utilities are scaling up solar and wind farm projects as climate-savvy corporations demand long-term clean energy purchased power agreements. Utility-scale wind is rising to the top of the renewables portfolio, while solar grows faster than any other resource. How do utilities integrate all of these variables? What does the future hold?