President's Message: March 2020

The IEEE PELS Footprint Is Expanding Across the Globe

Frede Blaabjerg 2019by Frede Blaabjerg

I have now completed one year of my term as president of the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) and time is passing so quickly – in a good way.  Our Society is very dynamic, with many  new ideas and initiatives, and it is getting better each day. On 12 December 2019, we launched the first PELS online webinar series, which covered microinverters for photovoltaics. It was organized as a half day event with a combination of presentations and question-and-answer sessions after each presentation. More than 500 attendees participated in the webinar via the Internet. We have been trying to launch this online series for a long time, as it could provide a compelling alternative to travel.

The event was a great success, both the presentations and the following question-and-answer   discussions were informative and educational. Our intention is to offer such programs more regularly for Society members, presenting current topics of interest in our field. Thanks to Professor Prasad Enjeti, PELS digital media editor, for organizing this series. I expect that, in 2020, we will repeat some of our new activities, such as the P3Talk and PELS Day; expand our PELS summer schools; and continue to provide the IEEE Empowering a Billion Lives program. In addition, we hope to create technology road maps, define new PELS technology milestones, and initiate new standards - just to mention a few plans.

Meanwhile, it is time to announce the next president-elect for PELS, who will serve in 2021 and 2022. I would like to congratulate Prof. Liuchen Chang from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Since he has been involved with PELS for many years, the transition will be easy and smooth. We have also elected three vice presidents (VP) to serve the term 2020-2021:  VP for Global Relations Prof. Mario Pacas, Germany; VP for Membership Prof. Jinjun Liu, China; and VP for Standards Prof. Johan Enslin, United States. The election was conducted by the voting members of Administrative Committee (AdCom) for PELS. The election is based on a slate of volunteer candidates found by the PELS Nomination Committee. I thank Prof. Peter Wilson for his long term service as VP for Standards as well as all of the candidates volunteering to be part of the ballot.

This year we will update our strategic plan for 2020 - 2025, a process in which we would like to get input from Society members. Since our last strategic plan (2015-2019), we have almost doubled our membership numbers, new journals, conferences, webinars, and so on. It is important to ensure that, in the future, we will offer attractive and timely activities and products to our members. We were able to discuss our new strategic plan at the AdCom meeting at the Energy Conversion Congress & Exposition 2019-North America in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 2019. If you have any input regarding new activities, services, or products that our Society should offer, you can email them to me, and I will present them to the committee. Similarly, please share your ideas about how to improve our existing offerings, including what we should not do anymore. Email your feedback, and we will give it due consideration when finalizing our strategic plan for 2020 - 2025. I also hope we will be able to expand our number of technical committees (TCs). We currently have seven TCs, but there are technology areas in our field that are not covered. Consequently, my vision is that all PELS members should be able to identify themselves with at least one TC and, thereby, get involved in the Society.

Furthermore, our Society is keenly observing how the start of the new IEEE Open Journal of Power Electronics is progressing and the level of interest in the professional community to submit papers to this journal. Even though the open journal will not have an impact factor the first two years, there seems to be tremendous interest, and it will surely get one within three years. This means that articles already published in its first year will be indexed in Web of Science. I hope you will submit a paper to this journal (as well as read the exciting papers already published), which will be accessible to all through gold open access, thereby bringing highest visibility to research conducted.

Because we see our technology as the enabler for the global modernization and electrification, we expect our Society to be present in as many countries as possible. In December 2019, we had our first activity in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was a great success, involving more than 40 participants from different parts of that country. It was evident that the Society has much to offer in Argentina; for example, power electronics is integrated in many curricula. In 2020, we will try to organize similar activities in other countries where we are not yet present, mainly through regional or Chapter activities. In this way, we plan to launch new events.

Winter is drawing to a close, and it is time for us to see each other again at the IEEE Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC) 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana, 15 – 19 March. APEC 2020 again has a record high number of exhibitors and a very strong technical program. This conference is a good place to network with other professionals in your field. I am also sure we will learn news about better technology and ideas during the technical sessions. I hope to meet many of you there while enjoying the conference.