Editorial - VGB PowerTech Journal 11/2020

The Corona challenges

The Corona/Covid 19 crisis continues to have a firm grip on the world. Whereas in the middle of the year, with falling infection number and illnesses, there was hope that this pandemic was coming to an end, this hope was dashed at the end of the year. The number of infections and illnesses rose again, not only regionally, but across all regions and countries, and in some cases rapidly. Accordingly, measures to contain this development were again necessary, i.e. both private and public life were and are being restricted. Again, it is essential to minimise contacts, as this is currently the most effective way to limit the spread of infection. At the same time, hopes for a vaccine have improved significantly and the first ones are being approved and used these days in order to contain the Corona pandemic in this way as soon as possible.

As far as energy supply is concerned, the industry can still point to a reliable and secure supply. Above all, electricity supply, which must be guaranteed safe, uninterrupted to sustain our private and public lives, to supply households, workplaces and infrastructure, met and continues to meet this demand.

Our working life has changed in many areas this year, or experienced new focal points. For limiting contacts means less direct communication and less direct vis-a-vis exchange. This was and is the chance to exploit the opportunities offered by more intensive digitalisation in order to cope with everyday and new challenges – where possible – and even to draw innovations from them.

Thus, the work and activities of VGB PowerTech have also changed and new ways of cooperation have opened up.

Very obviously, this concerns the events of the association. Since the spring of 2020, it has been virtually impossible to offer and hold any face-to-face events, and in the anniversary year with the 100th anniversary of VGB, this also became apparent for the anniversary congress, planned for September, only gradually and then clearly. Thus, the Jubilee Congress 2020 “100 Years VGB” had to be postponed to 2021 because of the corona virus. We had used the original date to nevertheless draw the industry’s attention to our association and its anniversary with a top-class online event. The first major online event of VGB with keynote speeches and an exciting live discussion on the “European Energy System of the Future” met with great interest and the digital YouTube channel of VGB, which was switched on at the same time, continues to offer the German/English-language video recordings.

At the same time, the VGB „eNet“ was opened. eNet is the new tool of the VGB, which digitally supports the work of the VGB and its committees. It is not only a database for documents, but also offers tools as forum, member overview, scheduling, task management and chat. Further offers, such as joint document processing or integrated video conferences, will be further developed according to demand. An app, quasi “VGB-To-go”, is available for iOS and Android devices. Also integrated is the VGB’s digital set of rules under the name “VGBVS4OM”, through which the ordinary member companies have access to the electronic VGB standards.

With the uncertain perspective to what extent and to what extent face-to-face events can be offered and carried out in the foreseeable future, we have structured our range of events for the coming year accordingly. Looking ahead, the first workshops will be offered as online events, i.e. they can be experienced on the screen, from the home office or from the workplace. The first larger conferences are planned from the middle of the year as the first face-to-face events, whereby we will take into account the situation existing at that time. As with this year’s “KELI – Conference on Electrical, Control and Information Technology” as the first complete web conference of VGB, we are prepared for a flexible reaction.

Our planning and up-to-date information on all events is provided digitally on our website.

This overview of some selected activities of your VGB shows how we use the digital world to shape the association’s work for the future with the current challenges.

However, the development also underlines the central importance of digitalisation for our lives and our society. For this key technology, a secure power supply in the background for which we work is essential. However, a secure power supply also means the security of digitalisation. A topic that has gained new attention with the attacks on servers and sensitive infrastructures that have recently become known.

VGB is also contributing to how energy supply can deal with this, for example with the now established events “digi-Tag” and “Cyber-Security Tag Energie” or the book “Cybersecurity in der Energieerzeugung” by Stefan Loubichi, printed or as an eBook, digital.