Editorial - VGB PowerTech Journal 9/2017

Welcoming address to the VGB Congress 2017
Generation in Competition
Essen, Germany, 13 and 14 September 2017

“Generation in Competition” is the motto of this year’s VGB Congress in Essen, to which we invite you on 13 and 14 September 2017. National and international developments in power generation are leaving their impressive mark in the form of a transformation of the energy sector driven by technology, economics and politics. On the European electricity market, the EBIT for conventional power generation fell by 70 % from 2008 to 2015, and the EBIT for generation as a whole by 28 %. A further aspect concerns the decreasing generation costs from renewables. Here, the implementation of auctions accelerates the development. Current auction results in Germany and further European countries underline the price trend.

Our member companies and their plants will therefore have to position themselves in this challenging process with a changing and at the same time increasingly uncertain market environment. Measured against these challenges, power generation will have to be further developed in the focus of VGB PowerTech. The aim is to preserve and increase its commercial efficiency and to continue to ensure safe, secure and climate-friendly power supply. Both the public and government expect and demand this from us. The task is thus: “Conversion of the power supply system while at the same time ensuring the usual security of supply for private and industrial customers”. Our focus and that of the VGB Congress ranges from conventional generation, through renewables to storage technologies for electricity and heat and the coupling of electricity with other methods of energy storage.

We will be discussing the currently compelling issues in this field of tension at the 2017 VGB Congress in Essen, with the theme of

Generation in Competition.

Together with you as participants and our expert and prestigious speakers, we will use the presentations and discussions to explore the latest ways to overcome the technical and commercial challenges in power generation, the storage of electricity and the associated fields of technology – such as the digital universe. On the one hand, there will be presentations on the continuing development of technology aimed at strengthening the position of the individual sources of energy, and on the other hand attention will be paid to the transformation of the energy sector itself, which is opening up new horizons and also market opportunities.

Sonja van Renssen of ep energy post, Belgium, will chair the plenary session under the motto of “Transformation as Business Opportunity?”. Frank Klose from the Boston Consulting Group will take up this issue in his presentation on “The Transformation of the European Utility Landscape ”, and Christian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric, will contribute further aspects in “Decarbonisation is everything! How can we guarantee security of supply?”. In the light of the commercial pressure on generation and the ever more pressing question of how grid stability can be ensured in the coming years as classical generation capacity disappears and investments have to be made in replacement capacity of whatever kind, these are highly interesting issues in our industry. The further course of the plenary session will be concerned with the topics of decentralisation, digitisation and decarbonisation, which are among the central issues of the transformation process in power supply.

For the specialist sections, together with the programme committee of the 2017 VGB Congress, we have selected the topics of

  • Generation and Storage Technologies for the Future,
  • Experience with New Build Projects and O&M,
  • New Business Opportunities, and
  • Flexibilisation Opportunities in the Generation and Storage of Power and Heat

for you. In 20 presentations, the speakers will address questions which are of paramount importance to the companies and which can provide an important impetus for the future. In a new, fifth specialist section, the focus will be on dialogue between the speakers and the Congress audience. The speakers will devote attention to highly topical, relevant and, we are certain, extremely stimulating topics from the fields of digitisation and IT security and face your questions in nine rounds of presentations and discussions.

As a further new component of the VGB Congress, a poster session awaits you. With eight presentations, the authors will face your questions on the wide range of topics covered. You will find the poster presentations in the area of the accompanying trade exhibition.

With this broad programme, the 2017 VGB Congress is the ideal forum for the exchange of information and ideas, and for new momentum within the power generation industry in Europe.

We are therefore looking forward to welcoming you with your contribution to the European meeting of the electricity and heat generation industries. Let us take the opportunity in Essen, selected as “European Green Capital” for 2017, to discuss the solutions together for the energy generation methods of the future, its technologies and businesses, and the process of transformation. Essen itself appears as a model of structural change, with its history of successful transformation from a coal and steel city to the greenest city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. We are sure that Thomas Kufen, Mayor of the City of Essen, will devote further attention to these achievements in his greeting address at the opening of the Congress.