Six more electric utilities commit to delivering content at POWERGEN 2019


The term “utility player” means one thing to a sports club and something else entirely for a electric power trade show, but they are vital to the team effort either way.

The latter effort gained a big boost this past week when key industry leaders from six more utilities globally announced they were coming to contribute to content sessions at POWERGEN International when it happens Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. The latest crop of utility participants includes NRG Energy, Cleco Corp., Entergy, Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities, AEP’s distributed energy ventures group AEP OnSite Partners and Hindustan Power from India.

“Electric utilities can tell the stories that offer the true and verifiable end results of any project and piece of equipment used,” Rod Walton, content director of Power Engineering and POWERGEN International, said. “The utilities are the hub of the wheel and nearly everything in power generation revolves around them. We are working hard to strengthen this part of our conference from the inside out.”

The most updated list of utility-level speakers at POWERGEN now includes those just named, as well as the previously announced AES, Salt River Project, Wisconsin Public Service, Duke Energy, Korea South-East Power and Quezon Power (of Philippines). More will be announced in the coming weeks and times for some sessions are likely subject to change.

The utility headliner for Wednesday, Nov. 20’s keynote address is Entergy Corp. Chief Operating Officer Paul Hinnenkamp. Hinnenkamp, whose lengthy career includes expertise developed in nuclear, capital project building and all other forms of generation, will talk about the big picture in the 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 keynote session.

Case studies, meanwhile, are always a big part of the POWERGEN content experience. Earlier this month, Houston-based NRG Energy announced that it had restarted operations at the Gregory gas-fired power plant in the Corpus Christi, Texas area. Gregory had been shut down since 2016 when cogeneration partner Sherwin Alumina filed for bankruptcy.

Skip Zahn, NRG’s vice president of asset management, will speak to POWERGEN attendees about the challenges and victories in restarting a once dormant power plant. His talk is scheduled 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Future of Conventional Power Knowledge Hub on the exhibit floor.

Cleco Corp. Chief Digital Officer Mark Madsen will be one of the panelists in the Digital Transformation session on “Challenges, Hurdles and Successes of the Cybersecurity Journey,” happening also on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Madsen recently became head of digital operations at Cleco, the Pineville, La.-based utility serving close to 300,000 customers in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Sybil Montagut, a colleague of Madsen’s at Cleco who heads up the company’s transformational efforts, will come to POWERGEN to speak on innovation and affordability initiatives at the utility level. Her session time and location will be scheduled and announced soon.

The Energy Storage Breakthroughs summit track is one of POWERGEN’s most popular, and one of its sessions features two industry leaders with strong utility connections. David Sinclair, vice president for energy supply and analysis at Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities, will moderate a panel on “The Vaunted Market Interface: Unlocking the Value of Storage through Software,”

happening Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The panel also includes Peter Protopappas, director of business development at AEP OnSite Partners, American Electric Power’s division for distributed energy investment.

Basanta Kumar Mishra, chief operating officer and plant head for Hindustan Power in India, will be a co-presenter on “The Power Generation Scenario in India” during a Knowledge Hub session on the Future of Conventional Power stage. The session focused on India will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21.

Other utility-sector presenters at POWERGEN include Jason Handley, director of smart grid technology and operations at North Carolina-based Duke Energy, will be part of a Megasession panel on microgrid development happening 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20.  Another utility expert on that Microgrid Megasession panel is Heng (Kevin) Chen, principal project manager for ComEd based in Chicago.

Ron Rodrique, plant manager for AES in the U.S., will talk about developing simulator training and qualifications during a Digital Transformation session. Eunho Park, with Korea South-East Power Co., will be in a different Digital Transformation session presenting on smart early warning pop-up systems and preventative maintenance of power plants.

Rudy Navarro, Arizona-based Salt River Project’s plant manager at the Coronado Generating Station, is a panelist during a Future of Coal-Fired Generation session on the “Operating Challenges of Cycling the Modern Coal Fleet.” He will be joined by Jerry Meissner, manager of power generation plant projects for We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service.

Frank Thei, managing director of Quezon Power in the Philippines, will travel to POWERGEN to speak on the first supercritical coal plant in that island nation.

Much of the POWERGEN International content is selected by a large team of industry leaders on the advisory committee. That group includes professionals from Duke Energy, Lincoln Electric System, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, American Electric Power, Commonwealth Edison, Southern California Edison, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Avista Corp., Evergy and Tampa Electric.

POWERGEN is looking to add to that utility strength on the committee and will consider nominations for next year’s group. Contact Rod Walton at 918-831-9177 or to make nominations for utility representatives on the POWERGEN advisory committee.