Welcome to the first 2018 issue of PEi Magazine.

Last year saw 12 months of huge changes for the international energy sector and we kept pace with them all to bring you the latest thought-leadership and industry innovations to guide you through this transition.

And as the energy sector had evolved, so too has Power Engineering International. While we continue to cover in detail the latest projects and innovations in power generation worldwide, we have expanded our in-depth coverage to the transmission and distribution grid and beyond to tackle the convergence of energy with other sectors.

Whether it’s big data, the Industrial Internet of Things, electric vehicles, energy storage, 3D printing or blockchain, we are introducing you to new players in the market who bring fresh thinking to the challenges of the 21st century electricity sector.

And we begin 2018 by tackling many of these issues head-on with our Energy Trends Issue. Here you will find new voices offering fresh insights into the challenges and opportunities that power and utility companies will face in the coming months.

First up is Steve Martin, GE Power’s Chief Digital Officer, who tells us that “the world’s most powerful utility in 2025 does not exist today – or at very least, this utility does not operate today as it will in the future”.

As he offers his take on the challenges in the year ahead, Martin tackles blockchain, drones, electric vehicles and consumer apps as just some of the key technologies that are leading us to a brave new world of electricity.

Then Juliet Shavit, who has been dubbed ‘the Queen of the Smart Grid’, outlines where utilities have gone wrong in the past in their efforts to carry out a ‘smart’, digital transformation – and also spotlights the areas that they should target in 2018.

She says that if “utilities focus on grid modernization, smart cities, smart homes, and smart energy, it will not only impact their operational efficiency, but also their ability to provide better, safer more reliable service to customers.”

Cybersecurity remains one of the hottest topics in the energy sector, and we have two in-depth articles on how the industry can face this pressing issue. Scott Foster of Delta Energy & Communications explains how utilities can prepare a resilient next-generation smart grid, while Paul Darby of Vidder highlights how to close the chinks in the cyber-armour for energy infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Martin Dunlea of Oracle explains that over the next 12 months, the biggest challenges and opportunities for power and utility companies will be to build a comprehensive customer experience, drive operational efficiency and excellence and embrace big data opportunities.

In his article he investigates these three complex challenges, and shares insight into how technology can support utilities in embracing new opportunities in the year ahead.

And Pat Kennedy, founder of OSisoft, warns how technology creates its own challenges. He highlights that companies can accidentally waste millions because of a wrong turn, or incorrect assumption, and flags-up six data challenges for the power industry in the coming year.

Also talking about data and the Internet of Things is Phil Beecher of Wi-SUN Alliance. He stresses that unlocking value from the IoT requires more than blind investments in technology and explains why those organisations most likely to pull ahead of their competitors will be the ones that focus on security, performance and standards.

As we move through 2018, PEi will be bringing you in-depth coverage and thought-leadership of the major trends in the energy industry. In our February issue we will have a focus on how drones are – and could be – utilized by power and utility companies.

In future issues we will explore the multiple issues surrounding electric vehicle infrastructure and energy storage.

This year promises to be another of exciting change, and with that change comes fresh opportunities.

I look forward to offering you the best insights to ensure that you maximize those opportunities, and from everyone on the PEi team, wish you a prosperous 2018.

Power Engineering International January 2018

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