We are happy to announce that the PAC World Americas Conference will take place from 29 August to 31 August 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, NC, USA. Members of the PAC World community, professionals from utilities and universities, manufacturers and consultants, are invited to take part in a unique event that will help us build better understanding and knowledge in our industry.
Maybe some of you will ask: “Why do we need another conference?” Here is why:
We are in the middle of the second decade of the twenty first century at a time of financial and energy crisis, loss of expertise in the field of electric power systems Protection, Automation and Control (PAC), dramatic changes in computing and communication technologies, as well as increased requirements for system stability and power quality. The wide spread penetration of alternative energy sources, the foreseeable availability of millions of electric vehicles introduce additional challenges for PAC professionals and move the industry towards the development and implementation of a “Smart Grid”.
This all sounds very promising. But if you ask anyone “What is a Smart Grid?”, you will get as many answers as the people you asked. For some people it is automatic meter reading, for other it is distribution automation or the integration of distributed energy resources. Adaptive protection, dynamic stability estimation, synchrophasor applications and distributed PAC systems will pop-up in some of the answers. All these answers are correct. They are trees in the forest. But many times we, as specialists, focus so much on “our” tree, that we don’t see the forest.
The investments that are required to build a smart grid will be huge. However, they will be much larger if each domain in the electric power system builds their own piece of the smart grid without checking what can be shared with the other domains. That is why we decided that we need the PAC World conference. The other conferences are either too broad, or too narrow. They offer many parallel sessions that keep the experts from the different domains isolated in their own, well known environment. We will try to find the middle ground, the “razor’s edge”, by having for three days experts from around the Americas, as well as the rest of the world in the same conference hall at the Raleigh Convention Center. We will present to the attendees the challenges, the requirements and the solutions for the Smart Grid. We will look at the past, the present and the future. We will argue and challenge each other. We will find out what divides us and what unites us. And at the end we will learn that we can work together to optimize our industry efforts and build in the most efficient way the Smart Grid of the future.
The same way that the PAC World magazine is the forum for open discussions in the PAC industry, we want to make the PAC World Americas Conference the annual gathering of the people that are our community, where they can meet each other, learn from each other, become friends and as Rainer Aberer (the person that triggered this event) used to say “Have fun!”.
If you are wondering why we chose Raleigh, NC for the host city of the PAC World Americas conference, the answer is also very simple. It is a wonderful place to visit, with friendly people that know how to work hard and enjoy themselves. It is in the middle of an area that is home to many great companies that are making significant contributions to the development of the Smart Grid. It has excellent facilities, easy access from anywhere in the US and a great mix of history and vibrant modern life.
The dates for the conference are also not randomly selected. If you look at the sine wave of the day/night time, you will see that the days of the conference are at the equinox – the time of balance between the two, symbolizing the balance that we need to achieve between all components of the electric power system in their integration in the Smart Grid.
The conference format is unique not only in bringing experts from different domains of the PAC space together in the same room. The conference will be held in six half-day sessions. A total of sixty two papers from many countries will be presented in paper sessions during the three full days of the conference, together with many more in a poster session.
“Ask the experts” session is another unique opportunity for participants at the conference to ask industry experts questions related to the challenges that they are facing in their everyday work and discuss them in an interactive environment.
This conference format will allow us to capture the pulse of our industry and to provide to the participants at the conference and the members of the PAC World community around the globe a snapshot of the state of technology, challenges, experience and future developments that will shape protection, automation and control systems as part of the Smart Grid of the future.