Catching up with Old Friends and New Tech at APEC

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

­This year’s Applied Power Electronics Conference was unique for several reasons, not the least of which was its early timing. Instead of March, 2024’s gala took place in late February. That said, in many respects, the show was “more of the same” in the best possible way – the latest evolution of a few preexisting trends.

To start, we could easily rename it AWBC (or the Applied Wide Bandgap Conference), and no one would bat an eyelash. We’re long past the point where gallium nitride and silicon carbide have merely arrived – rather, they’ve completely taken over most professional events, including and especially APEC.

Vendors and OEMs that aren’t at least dipping their toes into GaN and/or SiC are the exception. And a huge percentage of those who do indulge are heading in a decidedly automotive direction.

And as EVs mature and federal and state legislation pushes the country further into the electrification camp, I fully expect the automotive and WBG verticals to continue their run of APEC dominance.

I’d like to thank our friends, colleagues, and partners for their informative briefings and generous hospitality. Sometimes, this job really is a surfeit of delights, and endless rows of new products and friendly faces is techie nirvana (special thanks to Noriko-san for putting up with my shenanigans!).

With APEC behind us, we turn our attention towards the April issue and industrial electronics. As per usual, our contributors reflected the latest trends by their choice of topics – we give writers ample freedom to explore a vertical from their own, unique perspective, and their ensuing focus is always illuminating.

In this case, 50% of our contributors dealt with the IoT either directly or tangentially, and I’d like to highlight one of those.

Daniel Lai from Moxa starts a fascinating dialogue on “Enabling IIoT connectivity for virtual power plants,” the latter being all the more apt with the rise of renewable energy and the slow decline of fossil fuels. But until renewables truly take center stage, VPPs help relative energy pariahs gain a foothold in the marketplace.

“In the new power economy that is emerging, virtual power plants (VPPs) are showing the way by making it possible to aggregate power from different DERs and providing an efficient platform for energy trading,” says Daniel.

VPPs create both unique challenges – deploying the devices and technologies required by VPPS – and the opportunity for enterprising individuals to recoup their costs by selling excess power.

“A community of solar energy ‘prosumers’…can use the infrastructure provided by the grid to trade excess energy with each other or sell the excess energy back to the grid.”


Best Regards,


Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD