Making sense of change

As POWER-GEN Europe celebrates its 25th anniversary by returning to the city of Cologne next month, Nigel Blackaby spotlights just some of the must-see events in the conference halls and on the exhibition floor

POWER-GEN Europe, Europe’s annual gathering of power industry professionals, will be 25 years old this year and, in June, returns to one of its most popular locations, Cologne in Germany.

These days, POWER-GEN Europe shares its billing with Renewable Energy World Europe and it remains a vital forum for those professionals charged with making the crucial business decisions directing our industry through the current period of change.

With Europe’s power sector redefining itself in the age of digitalization, power industry professionals need to seize every opportunity to better understand this transition and POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe provides the complete platform for the power professional to make sense of this change.

Our host city of Cologne is in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia where energy is one of the most powerful sectors. Promotion of this key industry is the responsibility of the EnergyAgency.NRW which manages the state’s energy economy cluster.

More than 3000 companies and institutions have joined the cluster, three quarters of which are small and medium-sized enterprises. Over 150 universities, institutes and associations are members. It is therefore very appropriate that POWER-GEN Europe welcomes Dr Frank-Michael Baumann, Director of EnergyAgency.NRW, as one of its keynote speakers on its opening day. Dr Baumann joins a line-up that will include the chief executive of Enel Green Power and the Secretary-General of Eurelectric, Kristian Ruby. Ruby comes to POWER-GEN Europe fresh from his association’s annual convention and will be able to share the mood and the very latest thinking of Europe’s utility companies.

The Keynote session on the morning of 27 June marks the opening of the 25th POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe, where visitors will have access to an exhibition floor showcasing the very best of power engineering technology and services from Europe and all points of the globe.

The first day of the show is also when the main plenary panel debate takes place. This year POWER-GEN Europe welcomes LJ Rich, a broadcaster known in the UK for her enthusiasm and knowledge in the world of digital technology, gadgets and social media. LJ will moderate a panel of industry experts who will consider the exciting potential that digitalization offers the power sector and also the threat that comes with such interconnectivity. This is arguably the hottest topic within the electricity sector right now and a worthy subject for two hours of debate.

The combined POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe conference programme stages over the following two days, 28-29 June. This year’s POWER-GEN Europe conference is built around eight themes which reflect the changes taking place in the industry and the challenges facing both plant operators and the supply sector.


This is aimed at those who have a direct interest in or are influencing the market and regulatory conditions in which Europe’s power sector operates, alongside those who are directly involved in the financing of power projects. Sessions feature informed views on the structure, organization, policymaking, legal and regulatory framework of the European power sector focusing on energy security and investment.


Presenting financially viable strategic and technical solutions to the challenge of balancing a grid system facing a dramatic rise in variable power generation sources and accommodating more local and embedded energy solutions. The rise in variable power generation sources, primarily in renewable power, makes huge demands on the overall balancing of the power system.


Sessions featuring presentations and panel debate from those financing, developing, supplying or advising on renewable energy solutions. Understand how the falling cost of renewable technologies, coupled with dwindling support mechanisms is playing out. Alongside this, strategies for creating the best business environment for the renewable sector to continue its impressive growth are presented and discussed.


An exciting area, as storage technologies promise to present the ultimate answer to the renewable variability issue and investment in technological development in this field is significant and ongoing. Large-scale energy storage offers utilities the prospect of mitigating the drawbacks of variable generation. Presentations will deliver an up-to-date picture on opportunities and challenges for storage.


We all know that increasing digitalization will play a crucial role in the power sector’s development. Further, cybersecurity is a growing issue for the sector. Bringing clear and focussed thinking to what all that means and how the digital future will shape up is what these sessions will deliver. Presentations will chart the latest developments in this amalgamation of mechanical, electrical and digital technology in a clear and focussed way and will debate the best ways to maintain secure communications within the industrial internet.


Thermal generation units and boilers remain an important part of the balanced energy system in many European countries. Presentations will include technology solutions for plants seeking a leaner, greener and cleaner modus operandi.


Presentations will offer solutions to those operating existing generation portfolios in a market facing tougher market, regulatory and environmental conditions. Solutions are offered that give operators the required edge in the use of clean and efficient technologies and techniques in operation, maintenance and refurbishment.

If the prospect of all this content and the jaw-dropping rang of technology on show on the trade floor are not enough to have you registering right away for POWER-GEN Europe, then there are many other features that will fill your time at the show. These include three technical tours, a variety of networking opportunities including a B2B matchmaking service, and two Knowledge Arenas on the exhibition floor. The programmes for the Knowledge Arenas and all the other information about POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe can be found at

POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe will run from 27-29 June 2017.

Nigel Blackaby is POWER-GEN Europe Conference Director.

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