This is always one of my favourite editions of the year. In addition to being jam packed with great stories, it’s a time to start reflecting on the year gone by and prepare for the year ahead.

We are, once again, bringing you news and views from some of the best and brightest in our industry, with contributors from all over the globe. Two or three strong themes emerge from this edition.

Firstly, cybersecurity. We examine the development of cybersecurity law in Europe and the UK (pg 59), as well as some of the amazing organisations behind a multitude of cybersecurity initiatives, such as the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) and their biennial cyber exercise GridEx (pg 28). The European Network for Cyber Security shares a retrospective on 2018 and provides food for thought for 2019 (pg 66); and we have a chance to better understand how the Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (ISAC) provides a safe space to share critical information impacting on our infrastructure (pg 62).

Our second major theme is one I look forward to every year: European Utility Week. Our partnership with the team behind #EUW18 ensures we have access to a number of behind-the-scenes insights, and direct access to speakers and topics impacting the lives of our readers on a daily basis. In this section, we provide information not only on the day-to-day of the most important utility event in Europe, but we also speak to the likes of Laurent Schmitt, secretary general for ENTSO-E, the European Network for Transmission Service Operators (pg 54). We try (really hard) to understand what blockchain is and why it’s important for the utility sector (pg 48) in a conversation with Jo-Jo Hubbard, COO and co-founder of Electron and a speaker at #EUW18. When asked if blockchain is overhyped, Hubbard shares that it is – and then goes on to say: “What is not overhyped, because it’s not understood, is how this whole, huge industry could be transformed when you have market access to millions of assets and devices, instead of just 100s.”

The offices of the German Trade and Investment Agency share some updates on the Energiewende and the laws driving the transformation (pg 74). In addition to being one of the driving forces behind the uptake of renewable energy globally, Germany is the 2018 Country Partner for #EUW18.

Our last major theme for this edition is utility modernisation. It’s a topic that is on everyone’s minds, and words like innovation, technology and digitalisation are part of our industry lingo now. We examine why. One country that is considering the future of energy is Australia. In 2016, Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel told the leaders of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that they had “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the electricity sector to maximise its resilience in the face of rapid market changes.” Read pg 114 to understand part of the journey they are undertaking. Transformation is not limited to Australia and we spoke with French TSO RTE to understand how they believe adding sensors to their grid will enable them to work better, faster, smarter (pg 108).

There is always more to say than space to share it, but I encourage you to read the insights and plans shared with us in this edition as a way to understand, yet again, how amazing the transformation is that we are part of.

As this is also the last edition of 2018, I wish all our readers, friends and colleagues a truly special festive season. I hope you will start 2019 brimming with enthusiasm, and eager to read our next edition – we take on the North American power, water and gas sectors in our special DistribuTECH 2019 focus, and come to grips with the Internet of Things. Be sure not to miss it!

Read the digital magazine here.

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I am an experienced content director with specialist skills in writing about the smart energy and smart metering sectors globally. I have worked across the entire power value chain in Africa and globally for almost two decades. I am passionate about power and smart energy and the evolution and transition we are undergoing. This really is one of the most exciting markets to be part of and I love being part of this journey.