Grid of the Future Symposium

  October 22-25

| Cleveland, Ohio

Technology for the 21st Century Electric Utility

The Grid of the Future™ symposium is sponsored by the CIGRE US National Committee (USNC) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and is hosted by FirstEnergy. The GOTF™ symposium provides participants with the opportunity to network with their peers in the generation, transmission, distribution, markets, and smart grid technologies industries, and provides a variety of seminars and workshops in addition to educational speakers and tutorial sessions. Contributions from Next Generation Network (NGN) young engineers are encouraged.

Registration Details

GOTF starts Sunday, October 22you must book your room at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown before Septemper 30 to be included in the GOTF block. View transportation options from the Cleveland Airport here.
Registration is now open. Conference Pricing (early registration ends 9/30/2017):

Member Registration
Non-Member Registration
Student Registration
One-Day Member Registration
Non-Member One-Day Registration

The tutorial hosted by the Next Generation Network on Sunday is free. Other tutorials cost $100. View tutorial details here.


Call for Papers

We are now accepting paper submissions for the 2017 Grid of the Future™ symposium!

The paper should be a maximum of six pages, and be formatted in accordance with the CIGRE Publications Guide. Email your paper submissions to

  • July 28, 2017 |
  • August 25, 2017 |
  • September 8, 2017 |
  • completed manuscripts due
  • notification of acceptance
  • final submissions of revised papers due

2017 Conference Topics



Developments of Rotating Electrical Machines, Life Management of Generators, Rotating Machines for Dispersed Generation.

Transmission and System Operations

Wide Area Protection and Control, Synchrophasors and Wide Area Measurement Systems, SCADA/EMS of the Future, Integration of Large Scale Renewables, Physical and Cyber Security.


Advanced DA/DMS Applications, Impact of Distributed Energy Resources (electric transportation, demand response, distributed generation, storage), Integration of Distribution Management with System Control and Markets

Smart Grid

Advanced Sensors, Communications Infrastructure, Smart Grid Systems Architecture, Interoperability Standards, Cyber Security and Privacy Issues, Integration of Demand Response and Distributed Resources, Role of Microgrids.


Advanced Modeling Approaches, OT/IT Convergence, Analytics for Asset Management, Performance Optimization, Reliability Assessment and Management, Characterization and Modeling of Geomagnetically Induced Currents, New Regulatory Models.


2017 Keynote Speakers



Milton and Tamar Malts Professor of Energy Innovation, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Director, Great Lakes Energy Institute, Case Western Reserve University 

Alexis Abramson is the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professor of Energy Innovation in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University where she has been since 2003 as well as Director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute. As Director, Alexis is helping to implement a strategy for the institute focused on cutting edge areas of alternative energy: wind, solar, smart grid, energy efficiency and energy storage. Also as Director of the Energy Innovation Laboratory at CWRU, Alexis has been responsible for attracting more than $8 million in research funding, leading to over 100 scientific and educational publications and 2 patents. Her research has focused on thermal energy transport from the nano- to macroscale with an emphasis on applications such as energy efficiency, thermal insulation, thermoelectrics, and thermal management of electronics and solar panels. From 2011 – 2013, Alexis was “on loan” to the federal government where she served as Chief Scientist to the Building Technologies Office at the U. S. Department of Energy. There, she led the management of a $90 million/year portfolio focused on research, development and commercialization of energy efficient and cost effective building technologies. Alexis has also worked with various entities around Northeast Ohio, promoting innovation and technology commercialization, including NorTech (Northeast Ohio’s technology-based economic development organization) and leading a “Partnership for Innovation” program at CWRU, which attracted over $1 million in follow-on investment and resulted in 4 spinoff companies. She received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tufts University in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley.


Senior Vice President and President, FirstEnergy Utilities 

Strah began his career with The Illuminating Company in 1984 and has specialized in regional operations. In 1995, he was named Operations Services staff support manager. In 1996, he was a member of the transition team for the merger of Ohio Edison and Centerior Energy that created FirstEnergy. After the merger, Strah was named director of Business Services for FirstEnergy’s Northern Region – Ohio, based in Cleveland. In 2000, he was named director of Operations Support Services for the company’s Western Region – Ohio, based in Toledo. After the 2001 merger of FirstEnergy and GPU, Inc., Strah was named president of the Northern Region – New Jersey for Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L). In 2005, he was named regional president of Ohio Edison. He was promoted to vice president, Distribution Support in 2011. Strah was named to his current position in January 2015.

Strah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, also serving on its Executive Committee and Economic Development Council.


Vice President, Corporate Risk and Chief Risk Officer 

John W. Judge is vice president, Corporate Risk and chief risk officer for FirstEnergy Service Company, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. He oversees FirstEnergy’s Credit, Enterprise Risk Management, Insurance and Risk Control functions.

Judge began his career with FirstEnergy in 1998 as a senior staff analyst. He was promoted to manager, Generation Strategy, then was named manager, Cross Business Initiatives. In 2001, he was promoted to director of Information Technology Strategy. In 2002, Judge was named director, Gas Product Line, for the company’s natural gas business. In 2004, he was named director, Commodity Supply Planning, for FirstEnergy Solutions, the company’s competitive subsidiary. In 2007, he was named director, Integrated Business Planning, and in 2009, was named director, Supply Chain., He was promoted to vice president, Supply Chain in February 2011 and moved to his current position in August 2012.

Prior to joining FirstEnergy, Judge was employed by Bell Atlantic Corporation in a variety of business analyst positions. He graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and international studies. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.


Regional President, The Illuminating Company 

A native of Cleveland, Skory has been with the company for 39 years. He began his career with The Illuminating Company in 1977 as a meter reader and has served in a variety of operations and managerial positions over the years. In 2000, he was promoted to manager, Workforce Development, Regional Operations, where he was instrumental in helping establish the company’s award-winning Power Systems Institute training program. In 2002, Skory was promoted to director, Operations Support Services for Ohio Edison and was named director of Operations Support Services for The Illuminating Company in 2003. In 2010, Skory served on the FirstEnergy-Allegheny Energy merger team prior to being named president of Pennsylvania Electric Company, another FirstEnergy electric utility operating company. He was named to his current position in September 2012. Skory earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from David N. Myers College in Cleveland.
In addition, he has completed almost 1,000 hours of coursework and training throughout his career, including earning “Strategic Business Leadership” and “Financial Analysis” certificates from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Skory serves the United Way of Greater Cleveland as a member of its board of directors, its regional board and on its executive committee. He serves on the Board of Directors of University Hospital Case Medical Center and on its Quality and Professional Affairs Committee. He is a member of the boards of directors of the American Red Cross, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, which he also serves as a member of its Finance Committee.


CIGRE President 

Dr. Rob Stephen was born in Johannesburg South Africa in 1957. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1979 with a BSc Electrical Engineering degree. He joined Eskom the electrical utility in 1980. He holds both MSc, MBA degrees as well as a PhD in Objective determination of optimal transmission line designs. He is currently the Master Specialist in the Technology Group in Eskom and is responsible for distribution and transmission technologies of all voltages covering both AC and DC. He is past chairman of CIGRE SC B2 on overhead lines, and has held positions in CIGRE of Special reporter and working group chairman and has authored over 100 technical papers. He was recently elected President of CIGRE in 2016.


2017 Tutorial Series



Feeder Hosting Capacity of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and Impacts of DER on the Transmission Grid

Sal Gill, Khoi Vu, Yue Shi ABB | Matthew Rylander EPRI | Aleksi Paaso ComEd 

Due to economic incentives and improvements in cost, Distributed Generation is projected to enjoy an impressive growth. This poses a challenge to the utility companies, as traditionally, distribution systems are designed with no plan for Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). When the DERs are few in number and in total capacity, the existing distribution grid can adequately “host” the new generation resources. Now with the anticipated DER growth, utilities in many parts of the US are performing analyses to find out how much of “hosting capacity” is available on their infrastructure. Feeder Hosting Capacity is the amount of DER that the feeder can accommodate without adversely impacting power quality or reliability, and without requiring infrastructure upgrades.

This tutorial has three parts. The first part covers the different techniques that are currently employed in a feeder-hosting capacity analysis. It is noted that this is a computer-intensive task, due to the fact that the feeders are great in number and for each feeder, there are many possibilities for DER sites.

The second part discusses how a mass deployment of DERs can reshape the economics of bulk-power systems. On the one hand, DERs reduce the need for power from centralized power plants and for some transmission lines; this could result in stranded assets for the bulk-power utility. On the other hand, the most common form of DERs, photovoltaic solar panels, has resulted in excessive ramping of power in the morning and afternoon; to maintain reliability of the grid, system operators need to have flexible resources that can be dispatched quickly to compensate for such ramps.

The third part addresses bulk-power planning and distribution planning, which are currently two separate processes. The DER growth is challenging that practice. The tutorial shows a way that the two processes can be integrated, to provide informed decision for infrastructure investment.


About the Instructors


Sal Gill, P. Eng, Business Development Manager, ABB Power Consulting

Sal Gill is the Business Development Manager for ABB’s Power Consulting group, with 10+ years’ experience in the power industry. At ABB, Mr. Gill leads consulting engagements with utilities and large commercial and industrial clients in the Americas helping them develop strategies to mitigate risks, maximize performance, and optimize operations for their power systems. Mr. Gill is a licensed professional engineer in the province of Ontario, in Canada and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Gill is also an MBA candidate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, in Durham, North Carolina. (


Khoi Vu, Ph.D., MBA, Consulting Director, ABB Power Consulting

Khoi Vu is Consulting Director of ABB Power Consulting, with 25 years in the power industry. Mr. Vu develops many tools in advanced analytics to support the consulting business. Mr. Vu’s current areas of interest include Distributed Energy Resources, T&D applications of Energy Storage, and Renewable Impact on power systems. Mr. Vu holds a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D., degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. (


Yue Shi, intern, ABB Power Consulting

Yue Shi is an intern at ABB Power Consulting. Ms. Shi is also a PhD candidate at North Carolina State University, with six years of power system research experience. Ms. Shi has participated in various research projects of smart distribution systems. Ms. Shi’s current research interests include DER impact study, coordinated Volt/Var Control, and the implementation of real-time advanced control for distribution systems. Ms. Shi holds a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. (


Matthew Rylander, Technical Lead Engineer, Ph.D., Electric Power Research Institute

Matthew Rylander is a Technical Lead Engineer at the Electric Power Research Institute. His current research activities focus on transmission and distribution system issues such as analyzing operational strategies to improve system operation and evaluating the impact of distributed resources. Before joining EPRI, Matthew received his Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and worked at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.


Aleksi Paaso, Ph.D., P.E., Manager, Grid Strategy & Analytics, Distribution Planning, Smart Grid & Innovation, Commonwealth Edison

Dr. Aleksi Paaso is the Manager of Grid Strategy Analytics for ComEd. In this role, he is responsible for driving and overseeing the development and implementation of short and long term strategic Smart Grid initiatives. He is also responsible for providing strategic and technical vision and support to the ComEd’s Utility of the Future Initiative and Grid Modernization Efforts. Prior to his current role, he served as a Sr. Engineer in Smart Grid & Technology organization at ComEd. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Kentucky.

Dr. Paaso is the Vice Chair of the 2017 IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) General Meeting Local Organizing Committee. He is also the Vice Chair of the IEEE PES Distributed Generation Integration Working Group’s Microgrid Design Task Force. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and Member of CIGRE and licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois.



Impacts of Transmission Lines on Adjacent Facilities; an Electrical Effects Perspective

Rob Schaerer, Tyler Kent POWER Engineers, Inc. 

Expanding and improving the transmission system is necessary to meet society’s future energy needs. This expansion combined with ever more demanding environmental and siting requirements often results in congested utility corridors and increased risk of electrical effects from the lines on nearby facilities. This tutorial will focus on the two main effects: (1) AC interference on parallel and adjacent facilities and (2) interference with communications systems. Pipelines and railroads paralleling or crossing transmission corridors can be exposed to induced or conducted currents and elevated voltages that can damage equipment or injure personnel. Communication systems including radio broadcast and microwave facilities can be affected by signal blockage and distortion, as well as transferred voltages from transmission lines. The objectives of this tutorial are to:

  • Identify and discuss the concerns for both AC and communications interference
  • Review real-world examples of situations involving both types of interference
  • Discuss analysis methods and mitigation solutions


About the Instructors

Rob Schaerer, P.E. ( is a Project Engineer and Technical Manager of Infrastructure Design Studies with POWER Engineers, Inc. In his 11 year career with POWER, Mr. Schaerer has focused on various electrical studies and protection for power transmission and distribution systems from 480 V to 500 kV. His primary focus areas include grounding analysis and electrical phenomena related to transmission lines including EMF, corona, and interference. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Idaho, serves as the IEEE Corona and Field Effects working group vice chair, and is presently an adjunct instructor in Gonzaga University’s T&D Master’s degree program.

Tyler Kent, P.E. ( is a Project Engineer and Department Manager with POWER Engineers, Inc. In his 9 year career with POWER, Mr. Kent has focused on various electrical studies, automation and control, and communication impacts for power transmission, distribution, and generation systems from 480 V to 500 kV. His primary focus areas include grounding analysis and electrical phenomena related to transmission lines including EMF, corona, and interference. His primary automation and control focus areas include substation SCADA systems and Renewable Energy Volt/Var Compensation controllers. He holds a degree in electrical and computer engineering from Boise State University.


Modernization of the Existing Power Distribution System

Scott Secrest, Albert Livshitz CE Power Engineered Solutions | Andreas Nenning Omicron Electronics 

This course discusses the issues of the aging power distribution systems of the existing utilities, large industrials and campus facilities and suggest various practical solutions for modernization of the medium and low voltage switchgear including primary switchgear, protection and controls. It discusses upgrading and retrofilling the existing power distribution grid due to the increased levels of the fault currents, increased power demands, problems associated with aged equipment and lack of proper maintenance. Topics will also include review of IEEE C37.59 Standard as well as new methods and techniques available for on-line condition monitoring of the power switchgear equipment.

This course will include considerations and benefits of upgrading protective relaying systems as part of a grid modernization program. Topics will include features and advantages of modern digital protective relays, relay selection, redundancy, and impact on instrument transformers and station batteries.
Specific topics will include:

  • Arc flash protection
  • High impedance and incipient fault detection
  • Time synchronization of event records
  • Impacts on testing and commissioning


About the Instructors

Scott Secrest is the VP of Engineering for CE Power Engineered Solutions responsible for managing complex projects in power system design and analysis in generation, distribution and plant utilization. Registered Professional Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the electrical power industry, Mr. Secrest specializes in electrical system planning and design; protection and control system design; PLC programming and power system automation; forensic engineering and root cause and failure analysis; project management; commissioning and startup; testing and maintenance. He earned the BSEE and MSEE degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Senior Member of the IEEE and serving as Vice-Chairman of the Boston Power and Energy Society. Scott is a member of National Society of Professional Engineers and holds PE licenses in 14 states

Albert Livshitz is the Director of Technical Services for CE Power Engineered Solutions and responsible for modernization and upgrade solutions for utilities, industrials and commercial distribution networks. Albert has over 35 years of experience in the electric power industry with utility, equipment manufacturer and solution providers. Albert earned a BSEE degree from Belorussain Polytechnic Institute, he is an IEEE member, a member of the IEEE C37 Switchgear Main Committee and multiple working groups, member of the US Technical Committee for IEC Standards, member of CIGRE. He has made multiple presentations for various technical seminars and conferences, publications in conference proceedings addressing the issues of conversions of the power distribution equipment and proper maintenance and testing requirements.

Andreas Nenning has a degree in automation engineering and mechatronics obtained by the University of Applied Science in Dornbirn, Austria. He started his professional career with an apprenticeship at the municipal utility of Feldkirch, Austria. Later he graduated as Master of Science at the University of Applied Science in Dornbirn, Austria. After that he spent several years abroad working as application engineer and project leader before finally returning to Austria working as product manager in the field of decentralized renewable energy. Today he is Product Manager at OMICRON and responsible for Circuit Breaker Analysis. Andreas is member of the CIGRE Working Group A2.32 (Non-intrusive methods for condition assessment of circuit breakers).


Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Electric Utilities

Dana Parshall FirstEnergy | Brian Conaway Ernst & Young, LLP 

Businesses are realizing the challenges of process automation and labor arbitrage in creating efficiencies and reducing costs. Robotic Process Automation is software that creates a “virtualized FTE” to execute tasks, working within the process and IT ecosystem that the human workforce use today. Also known as the Digital Workforce, robots execute these tasks in a fast, scalable manner. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offers significant benefits to P&U business processes in terms of cost savings, productivity improvement, increase in quality and higher customer and employee satisfaction. Using RPA and Artificial Intelligence, utilities can review existing, completed work and build models to drive future decisions. With the ability to learn and adapt over time, robots deliver repetitive, high-volume tasks efficiently, on business processes that previously were not good candidates for robotic automation. Intelligent automation (cognitive RPA) allows the capture, interpretation and automation of a business process, in a repetitive, audited and controlled manner, including the ability to form, learn, and refine some cognitive decisions and adapt these decisions over time.

The objectives of this tutorial are to:

  • Describe robotics/artificial intelligence
  • Review and critique 4-5 pre-made Utility use cases for applicability
  • Break into 4-5 person groups and create a Use Case that represents an actual scenario within the groups’ experience
  • Group report out on Use Cases and potential value for RPA and AI
  • Contact Information Exchange/Session feedback


About the Instructors

Dana Parshall ( Director, Asset Management & Records Control

Current responsibility for the Asset Management and NERC PRC/CIP Compliance for approximately 2,400 FirstEnergy Transmission and Distribution Substations. FirstEnergy is comprised of 10 Operating Companies across 6 States and serves over 6,000,000 customers.


  • Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio
  • Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Degree from Ohio University in 1987
  • 29 Years in the Electric Utility Industry (all at FirstEnergy or their Subsidiaries)
  • Served in positions within FirstEnergy in Corporate Engineering, Field Engineering, Corporate Management, Field Management, IT Network Management, Technology R&D, Energy Efficiency, and Smart Grid Implementation.

Brian Conaway, PMP ( Brian Conaway is a Senior Manager in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP. He specializes in designing and delivering analytical solutions. Brian has over 7 years of experience in information technology that includes systems design, development, implementing business intelligence solutions, data governance, and data conversion. Additionally, he has led large IT implementation and data conversion programs including the deployment of a Quality Management System across 22 manufacturing sites globally and led the quality functional domain in a global Oracle ERP implementation across the supply chain.


Maintaining Grid Stability Amidst Generation Retirement

Anders Boestrom ABB | John Syner FirstEnergy 

Recent changes in the regulatory and market environments have led electric utilities to choose to retire existing, older generating assets. Often times, these generators are physically located close to load centers and have provided local voltage support to the high voltage grid for decades by supplying the necessary reactive power mix to respond to contingencies as they occur. Many utilities, like FirstEnergy, have elected to deploy Static Var Compensators (SVC) as part of the proposed solution to accommodate the retirement of generation and still maintain adequate planning margins with regard to federal and regional planning criteria. This tutorial will provide participants with an understanding of the transmission planning issues utilities encounter when retiring generation assets and how FACTS devices like SVCs are playing a role in the overall solution. Using the FirstEnergy Lakeshore SVC as an example, the tutorial will walk through considerations for application and design, equipment characteristics, and operations and maintenance considerations


2017 Tours

Static Var Compensator and Synchronous Condenser Tour

Tour and technical discussion of two FirstEnergy-owned operational installations which provide voltage support to the Cleveland area. These facilities are both located at former coal fired generation power plants. At the former Lakeshore Plant is a -150 / +260 MVAR Static Var Compensator, a tour of which will be hosted by ABB. At the former Eastlake Plant is a 5-unit, -694 / +1211 MVAR Synchronous Condenser conversion, a tour of which will be hosted by GE-Alstom. These conversions offer two technological solutions used to solve unique transmission grid challenges. As this is a walking tour of an actively operational facility, proper footwear is required (sturdy, closed-toe shoes). Other required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided.


CWRU Great Lakes Energy Institute Tour

Founded in 2008, the Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to catalyzing breakthroughs in energy sustainability that address the most pressing problems facing our world. Located in Cleveland, Ohio and housed within the Case School of Engineering, we empower our faculty, students and partners to expand knowledge, deepen understanding, and create innovative and sustainable energy solutions. Visit campus to see the diversity of interesting projects and activities encompassing a cohesive systems approach to energy innovation. Attendees will view projects on solar performance and analytics at our SDLE SunFarm, wind energy generation at our research WERC (Wind Energy Research Center), and witness energy storage applications that facilitate integration of renewable energy to grid.

2017 Conference Program Overview

(this program will be modified as the date of conference nears)

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