Your Utility Peers Are Gathering To Swap Best Practices, Don’t Miss it April 7, 2022 | By Leigh Yeatts Flashback three years to the most recently held in-person SEPA Utility Conference on April 8, 2019. Consider all that’s changed since that event. 81% of customers accounts in the U.S. are now served by an individual utility or utility parent company with a carbon-reduction target Passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Evolving decarbonization definitions and strategies Grid failures in Texas and increasing natural disasters put a spotlight on resilience Shifting workforce challenges (The Great Resignation) Surging electric vehicle (EV) adoption and interest in utility managed charging programs Pandemic impacts on utility operations and heightened focus on equity …And that’s barely scratching the surface Recognizing these transformative changes, we are thrilled to return to in-person learning next month in Portland for the 2022 SEPA Utility Conference. Here’s a preview of what to expect. Why Attend Utility Conference? Utility Conference is the premier event for utility professionals responsible for clean energy programs, projects, and technologies. Attendees will leave with actionable solutions for utility transformation, lessons learned from industry leaders, and valuable networking. This year, the SEPA Program Advisory Council has worked diligently to assemble a fantastic roster of speakers and panel discussions. Attendees will also notice the addition of solution providers and other non-utility speakers to the agenda. We’re excited to include these perspectives alongside utility voices to deliver valuable insights on case studies, public-private partnerships and other market developments. Agenda Preview The conference kicks off Monday evening with an all-star panel discussion titled, Getting Back to What Utilities Do Best in the Era of Carbon Reduction and Climate Change. SEPA president & CEO Julia Hamm will discuss approaches to planning for resilience while increasing clean energy deployment with Portland General Electric’s Maria Pope, ComEd’s Melissa Washington and SMUD’s Scott Martin. On Tuesday and Wednesday, get ready to roll up your sleeves during sessions that will explore… How the evolving workforce will affect utility grid modernization and carbon reduction efforts Solutions to address grid modernization, DER, carbon-reduction, microgrid, EV and electrification challenges Technology and utility business model innovations, and identify how they may apply to your utility New technologies and best practices to elevate your programs beyond traditional measures of enrollment, retention and customer satisfaction. Strategies utilities can use to address carbon reduction, resiliency and equity in grid modernization efforts …With experts including: Carter Prescott – Director of electrification, SCE Peter Muhoro – Chief strategy, technology & innovation officer, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Ernie Palomino – Sr. distribution planning engineer, SRP Melissa Washington – VP, external affairs & large customer service, ComEd Larry Bekkedahl – Senior vice president, advanced energy delivery, Portland General Electric Nancy Harvey – Chief DEI officer, NYPA Following the conclusion of the conference agenda, we are excited to offer two free workshops: Voices of Experience | Addressing Energy Equity Workshop Attendees are invited to join the Voices of Experience discussions to explore how utilities are addressing energy equity in their planning and decision-making processes. Voices of Experience|Addressing Energy Equity is an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity’s Advanced Grid Research Division. Tiers of Electricity Decarbonization This interactive workshop is designed to help utilities and large power consumers develop or update decarbonization strategies to maximize their carbon reduction impacts. The workshop will provide additional insights, instructions, and practical collaborative exercises to prepare attendees to use the new Tiers of Electricity Decarbonization framework effectively at their organizations. Add-on Options Want more from your Utility Conference experience? Consider signing up for a tour of the ESS Inc. plant where all R&D, engineering and manufacturing of the company’s long-duration iron flow batteries takes place. Tour participants will view the production process from start to finish and see how these safe and sustainable batteries are made from iron, salt and water. Or, join an add-on workshop hosted by eleXsys Energy and EnergyHub to stay up-to-date on the latest solutions for expediting the often slow process of implementing pilot projects. The session will identify and brainstorm potential opportunities for rapid acceptance of new and emerging technologies by traditional utility planners and regulators. Networking SEPA has designed opportunities throughout the event to facilitate connections between attendees. This year, we’re excited to debut lunchtime structured networking! These roundtable discussions are informal opportunities for topic-based networking and thought leadership sharing. SEPA staff members will facilitate conversations on the following topics: Customer programs Young professionals Microgrids Electric vehicles Energy storage Pathways for carbon reduction Executive leadership Networking break during the 2019 Utility Conference In addition, we’re reimagining the coffee breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday as SEPA “Pathway Open Houses,” providing an informal opportunity for attendees to connect with SEPA subject matter experts. Each of the three coffee breaks will center around one of our organizational focus areas: Grid Integration, Electrification, and Regulatory and Business Innovation. COVID-19 Safety Based on current state and CDC guidance, we have updated our COVID-19 policy for the Utility Conference. COVID vaccination and negative tests are no longer required to attend. However, it is highly recommended that all participants, including attendees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, and staff are vaccinated or test negative no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the Utility Conference in Portland, Oregon. Face coverings are recommended for all attendees, exhibitors, and staff. Travel & Flexible Registration Be sure to book your travel by Monday, April 11 to secure the best rate! Contact Charisse at [email protected] to register with a group of five coworkers or more to save $300 each on registration. SEPA is offering flexibility to attendees given the changing nature of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. If you have registered for the 2022 Utility Conference and are unable to travel due to circumstances outside of your control including, but not limited to, doctor or public health official’s orders or organizational travel restrictions, you may cancel your registration and apply the funds to a future SEPA event of your choice. Cancellations must be requested by 8 a.m. ET on April 25, 2022 to be eligible for a full refund. The SEPA Utility Conference will be held May 2-4 in Portland, OR. Registration is limited to employees of regulated investor-owned and municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, federal power authorities, and ISO/RTO employees. The full conference agenda is available here. The SEPA team is happy to help with any questions or issues. We hope to see you in Portland! Share Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedIn About the Author Leigh Yeatts Manager, Educational Programs Leigh joined SEPA in April of 2019. In her role, she designs and delivers educational content for SEPA’s in-person and virtual events, including management of the Program Advisory Committee. She is also a staff lead of the Community Solar Working Group. Leigh came to SEPA from the Chesapeake Solar and Storage Association (CHESSA), where she managed operations, planning of the annual conference, and led the Washington D.C. policy committee. She received a B.A. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and a Masters in Public Policy from George Mason University and is a Fellow with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI).