WATERTOWN, Mass., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision-makers from every corner of the utility industry will congregate next week in Boston for the 80th International Conference of Doble Clients – one of the oldest and most influential global events in the power industry – to discuss the reliability, safety, and maintenance of the country's most critical energy resource: The aging electrical grid.
The gravity of issues surrounding the U.S. power grid is steadily increasing, as the lead time for new electrical equipment, including power transformers, can take up to two years, and demand on the grid rises.
However, major issues in the utility sector extend beyond aging infrastructure and increased demand. Over 40 percent of the current workforce is eligible to retire, leaving significant gaps in personnel and knowledge. In fact, 64 percent of public power utility companies believe the retiring workforce will pose a challenge to maintaining their utility.A fourth converging force, changing regulatory requirements, adds more pressure on utilities to maintain and prove compliance with standards designed to help ensure grid reliability and security. Gerry Cauley, President and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), will discuss this regulatory environment in his keynote presentation. Patrick Hogan, Vice President of T&D Engineering and Design for BC Hydro, will also deliver a keynote presentation giving a utility's perspective on adapting to the changing power industry. Designed by Doble clients, with industry leaders and representatives from 35 countries, the conference will feature 90 presenters, including technical sessions based on real-world customer case studies. "The electric power industry is transforming, and currently faces enormous challenges due to aging infrastructure, an aging workforce, grid expansion, the addition of alternative energy, and explosive growth in demand of electricity associated with electric cars, big data and our electronic lifestyle," said David Zabetakis, President of Doble Engineering Company. "We have a critical need for new solutions designed to manage risk and maintain a safe and reliable power grid, and our industry is tackling these problems together, with Doble providing not only the new tools and expertise, but also the collaborative, educational environment needed to solve these issues."