As the decentralisation of energy production increases, so too does the complexity of managing transmission and distribution networks. These changes are also seeing the role of Distribution Network Operator (DNO) evolve to that of Distribution System Operator (DSO). The main challenge with this is identifying what skills the engineers of the future need and how the skill gap can be closed.
It is suggested that a move to a DSO role will require active network management solutions including smart metering, energy market oriented control of distribution networks, distributed generation, energy storage and an increasing number of microgrids which require managing the exchange of a large amount of information between all related parties.
There are also other challenges that need to be addressed to understand the overall technical performance of all network components, including the integration of HVDC and power electronics into the distribution network; the increase in energy storage to ensure that intermittent generation resources are dispatchable; and new system operations/controls, new protection concepts, new concepts in “network planning” (including bi-directional power flows).
The future will require a much broader and more diverse set of workforce skills for the success of more complex DSO businesses, so the key question is—what will engineers of the future need to know and how should engineers get those skills?
These issues and many more will be discussed at the NSW Annual EESA NSW Conference, taking place on 27 November 2018 in Sydney. One of the themes that will be discussed is “The changing role of engineers across the electric energy area – and the new skills required for success”. This session will have three great speakers and a joint Q&A session including:
- Mike Griffin from the Australian Power Institute will discuss “Building professional power engineering capability”
- Robert Ceic from GHD will speak about “Innovation by Digitalisation – the future of power generation and what skills do engineers need to realise it?”
- Peter McIntyre, CEO Engineers Australia will talk about “Re-engineering the profession”
Many issues will be raised and discussed throughout the day, covering many different points of view, and attendees are sure to have their views challenged by the speakers.
This a conference not to be missed. The EESA invites you to come, listen, participate, question, network and most of all, be informed.
For more information on the EESA NSW Annual Conference for 2018 and to register, visit https://www.2em.com.au/nsweesa2018.