Next week, renewable energy stakeholders from all across the world, representing all facets of the industry, will head to Orlando, Florida for one of the best all-inclusive renewable energy events of the year. Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo North America, co-located with POWER-GEN International (celebrating its 25th anniversary), Nuclear Power International, and the Financial Forum will convene for Power Generation Week, an action-packed five days complete with educational sessions, technical tours, workshops, award ceremonies, compelling keynote addresses, networking breakfasts, parties and so much more.
I'll be there kicking off the week with a technical tour of the Stanton Solar Energy Center to see its 5.9-MW array owned by Duke Energy and powered by Yingli modules. If that doesn’t sound interesting, then there are multiple other tours offered in that day, including a visit to an algae facility and a trip to the roof of the Orange County Convention Center to learn about its 1-MW project powered by SolarWorld solar panels.
Monday evening, along with my colleague, Sharryn Dotson, I'll be announcing the winners of the 2013 Projects of the Year. If you haven't read about our fantastic finalists, you can do that here. Along with our projects of the year, well be announcing our Papers of the Year (which will be presented at conference sessions during the show) and our first Woman of the Year. As far as I’m concerned, the awards gala alone is worth the trip.
The official conference then kicks off on Tuesday at 9:30 AM with a keynote lineup that is sure to delight. After lunch on the huge exhibit hall, we’ll start digging into the hottest and most up to date information for the renewable energy industry during our conference sessions. This year our conference tracks include Biomass, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar, Utility Integration and Wind Power.
Our Biomass Track will explore innovative uses of algae in power production, with a look at how waste CO2 from power plants or industrial operations can be transformed from a cost to revenue stream by using it as a feedstock to grow algae. The Biomass track will also look at the use of biomass to produce power and it will explore waste-to-energy projects.
The Geothermal Track examines new technologies, markets and applications for geothermal energy production. Of particular interest to POWER-GEN attendees might be the potential partnerships between the oil and gas industry and the geothermal industry on co-production technology.
Explore key hydro issues in the Hydropower Track. We have put together a fantastic conference lineup that includes how we can use hydropower as a large battery for energy storage. With more and more renewables on the grid, energy storage has taken on a life of its own and hydropower can play a key role. Other hydro sessions will examine how developers can “get the money” to finance new projects and review what’s trending in low-impact hydropower.
Because energy storage is such an important topic in this industry, we’re also exploring it in our Utility Integration Track in a session called “Successful Integration of Renewables and Energy Storage.” Other conference sessions in that track look at how the grid can accommodate more renewables and another emerging trend in the industry: microgrids. The first U.S. commercial-scale microgrid that includes solar was completed last month in Maryland. It is predicted that microgrids will spread across the country as a solution to energy security – think about military bases and critical care units as two examples of places that simply can’t afford to ever lose power.
And speaking of solar, our Solar Track is an excellent reflection of how the solar market is expanding into smaller-scale installations and emerging markets. We’ll look at opportunities for behind-the-meter solar installations, innovative sources of funding for solar projects and solar power’s value proposition in emerging markets and, again, microgrids.
Finally our Wind Track offers information, networking and education about the wind industry today. Attendees will be able to talk directly to wind turbine manufacturers in our vendor’s forum and learn about the locations that are ripe for wind power development. Finally, we’ll also explore new wind power technology particularly as it applies to small wind.
When conference attendees are done learning for the day, they can have drinks with 22,000 of their closest friends on the tradeshow floor both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and attend our networking party at the House of Blues on Tuesday night and/or the restaurant crawl on Wednesday night.
Our Thursday mega-session will put all of this knowledge together with a look at how North American utilities are supposed to weigh state and federal mandates and customer expectations against rising costs and existing power assets to create a “balanced portfolio.” Panel representatives from renewable, fossil, and nuclear technologies along with utility reps will discuss what a “balanced portfolio” should even look like and how utilities should go about trying to get it. This mega-session cuts across all power generation technologies and should make for a lively and informative discussion.
As the mega-session ends, the Women in Power Committee will host its first luncheon honoring the first recipient of the POWER-GEN 2013 Woman of the Year Award. The winner of the award will be giving a keynote during an elegant sit-down luncheon. Tickets are still available.
Renewable Energy World North America is like RenewableEnergyWorld.com LIVE focusing on the most important, relevant issues that affect the renewable energy industry today only instead of being online it's live and in person.
Hope to see you in Orlando!
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