Authors: Miroslav Begovic, Damir Novosel, and Ken Edwards
Normally, this column is coming to you, the reader and PES member, from the desk of the PES President, and it does serve the purpose of bringing to you information about recent events of notice, thoughts about new initiatives, or any other topic that improves the communication between members and PES leadership. This time, we have a particularly interesting topic (that will be addressed in two consecutive Leader’s Corners, starting with this issue). Today’s topic will attract the attention of many of our members who are active in the Technical Committees and Technical Council. It concerns the assessment of needs for restructuring and improving the reach, quality and efficiency of our many technical activities. The need for it has been discussed within PES for years, and the justification for it comes both from the changing landscape of our industry, as well as changing priorities and interests of our 30,000 plus members. For that reason, this column is authored by PES President Miroslav Begovic, PES President-Elect Damir Novosel (who leads the Long Range Planning Committee), and Technical Council Chair (Ken Edwards). We are also grateful to the former Technical Council Chair, Jeff Nelson, for his work on much of what is described herein, as well as many valuable comments.
Our industry has continued to experience exciting developments in recent years as the global power grids have become more complex to plan, operate, and maintain to accommodate grid changes, such as renewable generation resources, energy efficiency, electrical vehicles, storage and load growth. As our nature is to do better, the IEEE PES goal is to address those changes to support our membership in this changing environment. We are doing it by benefiting from our membership’s diversity, wide variety of technical backgrounds, and innovative ideas.
Initiatives we take now will help shape our future. The IEEE PES with our amazing team of volunteers is constantly improving and taking a leading role in benefiting and shaping not only our industry but the whole society. As an example of those initiatives, our Technical Council in cooperation with the Governing Board continues to address how to facilitate continuous improvements of our technical committees.
In Nov of 2012, the PES Technical Council held a strategy planning retreat to review opportunities for the PES Technical Committees to serve our membership. The key objective was to recommend solutions and priorities for the organization and develop an action plan. Twenty-five PES leaders, including sixteen representatives of the PES Technical Committees, two representatives of the Coordinating Committees, and region 8-10 representatives, participated in the retreat. The team concluded that there is a strong IEEE-PES brand with reputation for technical quality, but that the existing organization, processes, and resource limitations make us less responsive to emerging technologies. One of the highest priority identified was the concern with Committee Structure and Coordination due to a perceived proliferation of an overlap between existing PES technical committees, subcommittees, and task forces. These overlaps, in some cases, result in duplication of scope and effort, with additional time demands placed upon those members who participate in multiple committees. It may also result in isolated work within committees, without knowledge or input from other committees, being developed on subject areas that are overlapping through PES technical committees. Another concern identified was the alignment with industry and technologies, that while new, do not fit within the existing scope of any existing committee.
A Technology Mapping Task Force was created and charged with the following:
- Develop a list of technologies and issues that the committees will be mapped against.
- Using the catalog of committee scopes and the technology list, the mapping task force maps the committees to technologies and issues to identify overlaps between groups and gaps where key technologies or issues remain unaddressed.
- The mapping offers specific conclusions on the appropriateness and shortcomings of the current committee structure for review to the Technical Council
The Task Force conducted three surveys, with representatives from each Technical Committee providing input, to identify areas of overlap in the traditional areas of focus for PES technical committees and technology gaps that are not adequately addressed or not covered at all.
During the PES Technical Council meeting at the 2014 PES General Meeting each technical committee chair identified all the working groups and scopes that are currently in their respective committees. This information, along with the technology mapping data and the final draft of the PES Smart Grid Roadmap, was gathered and given to a Committee Structure Task Force charged with the task to review the existing technical committee structure and propose any changes that would better align the technical committees to cover industry and technology gaps, limit scope overlaps as much as possible, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of technical activities. The members of this small group were hand selected based on their knowledge of multiple committees and technical areas to provide as broad a cross-sectional representation of the power and energy community as possible. This task force met face-to-face in Sept of 2014 for a two-day meeting to go through the complete structure and develop an initial proposal.
In Nov of 2014, the PES Technical Council held another planning retreat with all 17 technical committees and one coordinating committee represented. The proposed changes to the technical committee structure were presented to the PES Technical Council. It was evident that some of the changes were very small and could be implemented fairly soon, while others would take more coordination to complete. Several technical areas, such as distributed generation, communications, cyber security, renewables, energy storage and power system planning and operations were identified as areas where significant changes should be made. Also identified was the potential for a new technical committee focused on customer-side systems, covering technical issues in subject areas such as smart load systems, consumer-side and prosumer resource systems, end-use energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and home and energy management networks, to name a few. Reasons discussed for the formation of this new committee included recognition of the shifting nature of energy delivery to electricity consumers, the growth of onsite generating resources such as photovoltaics, and the need to explore technologies, processes, and business models that expand and clarify the relationships between the grid and energy resources and services behind the meters. The technical committee chairs were tasked to take this proposal and discuss it with the affected groups to pave a road forward, and task groups were formed to review specific areas of the proposed structure changes with feedback from technical committee members.
In Jan 2015 at the PES Joint Technical Committee Meeting (JTCM), the PES Technical Council met again to continue to work through some of the proposed structure changes. Members of the PES Governing Board Long Range Planning Committee were present and actively participated in the discussions. The Task Groups are continuing to work through the initial proposal, with input from PES Technical Committee members, to develop plans for implementing the changes or provide modified proposals for consideration. These groups have been very active since the PES JTCM and the final structure is still a major work in progress.
It is very important for the IEEE PES to foster transparent process and benefit from the membership ideas. Our objective is to update you on the status of this important initiative and ask for your feedback and guidance. The PES Technical Council and the Long Range Planning Committee will work diligently to continue communicating the developments as they are completed, and is open to receive any member concern or suggestion relative to this ongoing progress. We are in the process of developing an open and documented process to collect your feedback and report back any updates, including key review milestones. We are particularly keen on affording every concerned PES member an opportunity to provide the meaningful feedback on this process, which will affect every member in some way. We owe it to ourselves and to all PES members to find the modus operandi which would support our mission (to be the LEADING provider of scientific and engineering information on electric power and energy for the betterment of society, and the preferred professional development source for our members) and IEEE vision (to be essential to the global technical community and to technical professionals everywhere, and be universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions.) Stay tuned.