by Michel Augonnet

President of CIGRE

Today, depending on where we live, we do not know if the pandemic is behind us, in front of us, or simply all over us. In all cases, it is changing the way we live and work. In the midst of this critical situation, our industry has been able to perform its role to outstanding levels and contribute to the reliable delivery of energy.

The widespread digitalization of our industry will be an even more enhanced enabler, diminishing some need for human intervention and reducing travel time to sites, factories, and offices. Predictive maintenance and remote operations will continue to grow, and all TSOs and DSOs will be able to more efficiently anticipate and avoid outages. Even product and equipment witnessed qualifying testing and inspections have been able to go ‘virtual’ using digital meeting technical solutions.

Worldwide, one consequence has been – due to a pandemic reduction in energy consumption of between 10-30% - the reduced strain on older equipment, allowing for a slowdown in planned equipment updates. Companies have been able to put their employees’ safety first and foremost, and clearly focus on the critical renovations.

For CIGRE, it also means preparing for an unknown 2021 and the need to organize and properly formulate a hybrid Centennial Session. We hope to welcome many to Paris but we must also anticipate live (and lively) participation for those who are unable to travel.

After this long period of separation, where physical meetings were replaced by e-sessions (such as has been the case for the AORC Technical Meeting in Japan, the South-East Europe Regional Convention (RSEEC 2020); and now the Greek National Committees Conference will be rejuvenating to meet again) and the very impressive GCC Power 2020 virtual conference and exhibition, we are all looking forward to being able to exchange ideas freely in a creative environment and to also celebrate the 100th anniversary of our glorious association which took its roots 200 years ago in 1820 when André-Marie Ampère presented his hypothesis on electric currents and their interactions, providing an explanation for the experiments done earlier that year by Hans Christian Oersted. This discovery linking fundamental and applied research laid the foundations of electrodynamics.

Ampère's work not only revolutionized physics, it paved the way for the electric motor, the second industrial revolution, and beyond, modern comfort and future innovations in production, storage and distribution of energy and for... CIGRE.

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