It is with great delight that I pen my first ‘Upfront’ for Power Engineering International (PEi) as its new Senior Editor. I would like to begin by telling you a little about myself. I have been in publishing for eight years, and began my career at Elsevier in the company’s B2B business unit, working on a variety of process engineering titles. Latterly, I moved into the company’s core academic journals business, and it was there, while working on a portfolio of energy titles, that my interest in the electric power sector was fuelled (excuse the pun!).

Few would disagree that the global power industry is on a high, enjoying unprecedented growth in almost all regions, but especially in China, India and the Middle East. This is unsurprising when the International Energy Agency has forecast that the world’s energy demand forecast will rise by more than 50 per cent between now and 2030.

However, two important challenges go hand-in-hand with this growth, and those are ‘security of supply’ and ‘control of greenhouse gas emissions’, and we are already beginning to see how both of these will shape the world’s future energy mix.

In recent months, we have seen nuclear power hitting the headlines as a viable option to help in the fight to reach CO2 reduction commitments – a technology that many felt (and hoped) had been consigned to the dustbin of history – in a number of countries, including Australia, the UK and the USA.

Nuclear fusion also recently received a boost with the signing of an agreement to establish the international organization to oversee the long awaited Iter project. However, in reality few believe that this technology can become a commercially viable energy source much before 2050 – if at all.

On the renewables side, the investment in technologies such as wind, solar, wave and tidal continues to grow, with wind power generation leading the pack. Europe is currently the driving force behind on how best to integrate wind energy onto the grid, while the American Wind Energy Association’s announcement in October that the United States was on track to install a record amount of wind capacity this year, with estimated 2007 installation exceeding that, came as a pleasant surprise to many.

Finally, there is little doubt that coal will remain the prime source to meet the world’s energy demand in the foreseeable future, but with the growing emphasis on reducing emissions of greenhouse gas, clean coal technologies, such as IGCC will come more and more to the forefront. Whatever the future holds, the next few years are going to exciting.

In his opening address at last month’s POWER-GEN International, David Wagman, Managing Editor of our sister publication. Power Engineering, put it very succinctly when he said, “A new editor is very much like someone, who has just moved into a new apartment. They have to move the furniture around”. I’m sorry to tell you that I plan to be guilty of this too in the coming months.

“What have you planned?” I hear you cry. Well, I hope that through the previous stewardship PEi has succeeded in providing you with the information that helps in your day-to day business, whether that’s simply the latest news, news analysis, market trends, leading-edge projects or current technological innovations. However, it would be presumptious of us to assume that we have got the right balance, so in the early part of next year we plan to do an online readers survey, so you have an opportunity to give your comments and highlight any areas that you would like to see covered or given more prominence.

Furthermore, it is over four years since PEi was last redesigned and accepted publishing wisdom is that it should be done every five years. Thus, we will be aiming to have a redesign of the internal pages within the next six to 12 months, so that PEi becomes an even more enjoyable read.

I’d like to finish off by taking this opportunity to introduce another new member of the PEi editorial team. Tim Probert joins us as Associate Editor, so please join Nigel and I in welcoming him aboard.

Wishing you every success in 2007.

Heather Johnstone
Senior Editor