Thursday, August 8, 2019

IEEE Working Group on Energy Forecasting in Good Hands

At IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting 2010 (GM'10), I proposed a future panel session on Practical Aspects of Electric Load Forecasting. The session was approved by the Power Systems Planning and Implementation (PSPI) Committee.

The following year at GM'11, we hosted the session with 6 speakers and a fully packed room of audience. The discussion was quite engaging. We shared ideas, experience, concerns and visions of the future for this field. At the same conference, Shu Fan and I proposed to establish the IEEE Working Group on Energy Forecasting to tackle a long list of challenges in the field. The proposal was approved at the PSPI committee meeting. I became the Chair, and Shu became the Vice Chair. 

After GM'11, we started working with a few other key players on several initiatives, such as GEFCom2012, and a TSG special session on forecasting. We brought in Pierre Pinson to both initiatives. Both turned out to be unbelievably successful. GEFCom2012 was a game-changing event that produced many valuable assets for the energy forecasting community and started the . Our TSG special section collected many high quality and highly cited papers.

At GM'12, I met Hamidreza Zareipour for the first time. Within seconds, we both sensed each other's strong passion in forecasting. Then Hamid became the Secretary of our working group. 

After GM'12, Shu, Hamid, Pierre, and I started another initiative: a tutorial on energy forecasting. We taught the tutorial for the next four consecutive years, from 2013 to 2016. 

During the last 9 years, we have completed virtually every task we promised to do back in 2011, and much more: the series of three Global Energy Forecasting Competitions, two special sections for IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid and one special issue for Power & Energy Magazine, a 25-page literature review, a full-day tutorial, and more than a dozen panel sessions at PES General Meetings.

Since GEFCom2017, I have been thinking about replicating the success beyond the power sector. Fortunately, the International Institute of Forecasters offered a great platform to reach out to the fields of gas, water, environment, and climate science. Long story short, I founded SWEET, IIF Section on Water, Energy, and EnvironmenT. We just had our first meeting at the International Symposium on Forecasting 2019, with 43 talks in 13 sessions. Our next meeting will be at ISF2020 in Rio, Brazil, July 5-8, 2020.

Running SWEET requires a lot of thoughts and efforts. To focus on this new challenge, I decided to take off my hat as the Chair of the Energy Forecasting Working Group. I believed the group also needed a new leader for its next chapter. I found no better successor than Hamid to take over the Chair position. Hamid is a full professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Calgary. He started as the Secretary of the group in 2012. After Shu Fan left academia to pursue his career in trading, he stepped up as the Vice Chair. Hamid has been a crucial contributor to the success of the group since its infancy. I'm sure that he will bring the group up to the next level.

Hamid and I searched for a new secretary and found a rising star Yi Wang, a postdoc researcher at ETH Zurich. Yi received his PhD from Tsinghua University. He has published more than 30 journal papers, of which most are on load forecasting and smart meter data analytics. In the past, he has helped us review many energy forecasting manuscripts for top scholarly journals. This year at GM'19, Yi is chairing a panel session on probabilistic energy forecasting. Yi has already brought up several innovative ideas to grow the group. As the Past Chair, I'll support Hamid and Yi to ensure a smooth transition.

IEEE Working Group on Energy Forecasting is in good hands!

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