Birmingham conference brings together power generation industry experts

Birmingham conference brings together power generation industry experts
Technology is making big changes in the power generation business, and industry experts gathered in Birmingham to talk about it. (Michael Sznajderman/Alabama NewsCenter)

As Birmingham celebrated Innovation Week, some 1,400 Southern Company employees gathered in the city to learn about the latest advancements and technologies in generating electricity safely and efficiently.

The Southern Company Generation Technical Conference featured more than 30 technical sessions geared around plant systems and processes, as well as remarks from energy industry and technology thought-leaders. More than 360 energy industry vendors and suppliers participated, filling an exhibition hall at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex with displays and information booths showcasing their products and services. Southern Company is the parent company of Alabama Power.

Kim Greene, Southern Company executive vice president and chief operating officer, was the conference keynote speaker. Based in Birmingham, Greene discussed how Southern Company’s business is changing and how technology is driving that change, and the need to continue providing customers with innovative solutions.

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Throughout the week-long conference, representatives from other utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Duke, American Electric Power, Bahamas Electric and Dominion Energy, also participated. They shared best practices and technical expertise with Southern Company employees and managers from across the company’s traditional fossil fuel and hydro fleet, from Southern Power, the company’s unregulated power company, and Southern Nuclear, which manages and operates Alabama Power’s Plant Farley nuclear plant and Georgia Power’s two nuclear plants.

Randy Jones, condition-based maintenance and analytics manager with Southern Company Services, said the event has grown every year it’s held, since the first one in 2001.

“We wanted to find a better way to share information across the fleet, talk about issues and share solutions,” Jones said during a quick phone call between technical sessions. “It’s really become a great learning experience for everyone.”

He said the technical sessions continue to expand each year, many of them facilitated by experts from Southern Company Engineering and Construction Services Technical Services. The vendor show also keeps growing, Jones said.

Indeed, he said the feedback from the event essentially comes down to this: “Can’t wait for the next one.”

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