BLOG: Insights and Highlights from EEA2022

Our power industry specialist Paul Garnham talks us through the highlights and insights from the Electricity Engineers'​ Association of New Zealand's EEA2022 conference

Our power industry specialist Paul Garnham talks us through the highlights and insights from EEA2022 

It was great to meet up with so many people in the power industry last week at the Electricity Engineers’ Association of New Zealand EEA conference in Hamilton.

Dr. Keith Turner opened the conference with some great insights into the challenges facing the industry and what the solutions might look like. A strong message that came through very clearly was that how we use data will be key to successfully navigating a rapidly changing electricity network and that this is a really exciting time to be in the industry. 

Keith’s themes were seen throughout the conference. He highlighted how the industry must adapt for the coming move away from fossil fuels from a generation point of view, but what will be even more challenging is how that change will affect how we manage the network with electric vehicles and Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

New Zealand is well placed to bring on more renewable generation to add to an already high renewable generation fleet. However, some unique challenges come with managing the network to accommodate the increasing densification of housing, DER, electric vehicles, and many other additional loads. The challenges were clearly articulated by Lingsong Zheng and the WEL Networks team along with a very considered plan on how WEL Networks will manage these challenges. Congratulations to Lingsong and the WEL Networks team for winning the People’s Choice Best Paper Award for best presentation.


WEL Networks Lingsong Zheng presenting their paper on Wel Network's DSO Strategy


It has been a pleasure to work with the WEL team to develop a platform to provide analytics on SCADA and smart meter data and to produce insights into potential problems on their network. This information will help WEL Networks manage the load without large additional investments in upgrading infrastructure, improving power quality, and identifying faults, including how to identify potential problems prior to failure. WEL Networks showed a clear plan to navigate the coming future and we look forward to the continued cooperation in building out this solution.

The use of data to provide insight into the condition of assets was seen throughout the conference, with many solutions using IoT devices to identify potential problems. It was clear from discussions that bringing together the ecosphere of solutions is going to be the key for customers to make decisions for their maintenance strategies. Jessica Silcock from Meridian Energy presented their journey of how they are moving from calendar-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance. Jessica explained how they were using PI and Asset Intellect data to as the basis for their decision-making, to optimise their maintenance.

Meridian Energy's Jessica Silcock presenting their paper on data driven maintenance and condition monitoring


The need for future management of demand response was very well illustrated in the sessions with Terry Paddy (Cortexo) and Rodger Griffiths (Electronet). Highlighting the potential role of a Distribution System Operator to coordinate the response, Simon Currie and Bryan Leyland had very different views of how things might play out in the coming years, with Simon excited about the potential opportunity to export large amounts of energy from renewable sources and Bryan not convinced we are putting in the sufficient buffer from thermal plant to cover the intermittency of renewable energy. I believe we will successfully navigate these big changes but clearly, we need to start making the investments now, to get the potential benefits. As Dr. Keith Turner said “these are exciting times to be in the industry”.


Paul Garnham

Paul Garnham

I help industrial companies get the most out of their investment in the PI System and the surrounding ecosystem. My engineering background provides an appreciation of a range of industries including how PI based Digital Transformation. My industry focus is power and water. You can contact me at