DISTRIBUTECH International’s first full conference and exhibition day welcomed delegates to the event with a keynote session headlined by Paula Gold-Williams, President and CEO of CPS Energy.
CPS is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, having already closed two coal-fired power plants in 2018 and now considering the future of some single-cycle, natural-gas-fired power plants.
Gold-Williams spoke of the utility’s reliance on large-scale generation and grid reliability and resilience – a challenge that she believes is going to grow – especially as the level of renewable energy on the grid increases.
“Customers are the voice of what we’re trying to do and the beacon of where we’re trying to go” – @Paula_GW, CEO of @cpsenergy, during her keynote address at #DTECH2020 #Distributexas pic.twitter.com/1JeFeXqslJ— EPIcenterUS (@EPIcenterUS) January 28, 2020
Gold-Williams reminded the audience: “We have to focus first on reliability,” continuing: “Solar’s great — you just have to wrap something around it to make it effective.”
To this end, CPS Energy has formulated Flexible Path – a plan to increase the share of renewables to 50% and be 80% carbon neutral by 2040. The plan is to reach NetZero status by 2050. In addition to the addition of renewable energy resources to the grid, 16% of the energy needed will theoretically come from “flexible generation,” which is a catch-all for technologies which might not be economically viable at the moment.
The Flexible Path plan will see CPS get half of its energy from wind and solar by 2040. Thirteen per cent would be generated by natural gas, 9% by nuclear and 7% from coal, while battery storage would account for 5%
CPS Energy is testing integrated solar-storage-grid control systems to help balance intermittent renewables with flexible loads.
CPS Energy serves more than 840,000 electric and 350,000 natural-gas customer accounts.
Futurist Sophie Hackford spoke about the ways that data and artificial intelligence can play a role in the energy future.
Futurist Keynote at #DTECH2020 generated thought provoking considerations for our sector’s future, we must strive to stay relevant in our customers’ minds, consider innovation and ingenuity as our core drivers — @edeson1 #paconsulting, #ingenuity pic.twitter.com/pzPiUjegmQ— PA Energy (@PA_energy) January 28, 2020
Meanwhile, Tom Deitrich, Itron CEO shared some thoughts on the importance of weather resilience during his keynote speech. According to Deitrich, increasing extreme weather events such as hurricanes and wildfires will demand a strong utility response. At the same time, reliability will be challenged by the addition of unconventional loads or asses such as renewable energy and EVs.
Our CEO Tom Deitrich discusses his five predictions for the #futureofenergy at #DTECH2020. If you’re not here, check out our YouTube channel in the next few days to see the recording. pic.twitter.com/RQP8ghXpSQ— Itron, Inc. (@ItronInc) January 28, 2020
He further predicted that there will be a need for “more agile systems for operational improvements and for consumer engagement.” This requirement will be met by an increase in smart meter computing power, communications hubs and distributed endpoints.
Company and partner news:
Itron announced a collaboration with Innowatts, a provider on AMI-enabled analytics and AI-based solutions, at DTECH this week to provide utilities with AI-driven data insights to enhance customers’ energy experience and boost grid stability. Innowatts is using detailed data from Itron’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution for predictive analytics.
Met up with the @Innowatts team over on the @awscloud booth at #DTECH2020 …— Kevin O’Donovan (@Kevin_ODonovan) January 28, 2020
Zena & Christine gave me a quick update on the latest partnership with @ItronInc … announced today …#InnowattsInfluencer … pic.twitter.com/1XELLL1zwR
The collaboration is an example of how utilities can address key pain points they have all by harnessing their existing Itron network to deliver new insights, predict customer consumption and generate important intelligence about customer energy usage behaviours.
From the Twittersphere: #DTECH2020
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“The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” getting a shout-out during Sophie Hackford, Futurist keynote here at #DTECH2020— Kevin O’Donovan (@Kevin_ODonovan) January 28, 2020
Some great comments & oneliners on #tech & the #future during the session …
Great food for thought … ?@DISTRIBUTECH pic.twitter.com/Xv3g0ygKVq
Storms and other natural disasters cost utilities billions. Check out the number of billion dollar events in 2018. #DTECH2020 Live Clevest webcast happening now. Carol Johnston on stage. https://t.co/7SPeGvnfr1 pic.twitter.com/zsXtVz8dWY— Jennifer Runyon (@jennrunyon) January 28, 2020
At #DTECH2020 I’m honored @DISTRIBUTECH asked me to give the “#Digitalizing the Grid” Knowledge Hub Luminary Session.— Kevin O’Donovan (@Kevin_ODonovan) January 24, 2020
As to what to expect, here’s an example via @BrandingEnergy. Full video at? https://t.co/Z7d5QzpLDD
Wed will be fun, plus I’ll have ‘audience’ participation ? pic.twitter.com/q7qc5LT1wK
I dropped by the @Black_Veatch booth earlier today here at #DTECH2020 and had a good chat with Jason Abiecunas … on how they as a company are responding to the #EnergyTransition …— Kevin O’Donovan (@Kevin_ODonovan) January 28, 2020
Video to follow ? …@DISTRIBUTECH pic.twitter.com/cibOdMby2U
Some fun towards the end of day 1 at #DTECH2020: Wind / coal energy contest at the @fischer_block booth: who can deliver the most wind or coal power operating a robotic crane. @DISTRIBUTECH (just wonder who really wants to deliver coal power…) pic.twitter.com/mBIJzA2xEp— Dr Thomas Hillig ⚡️ #EnergyTransition @ THEnergy (@THEnergyNet) January 28, 2020
Live: Dr. Gregory Reed, Program Director, National Science Foundation on ideas from the lab to the marketplace to strengthen America’s economy. Ex of successful public/private partnership models in the energy sector. #DTECH2020 #IBMPartner #Distributech via @fogoros @nsf pic.twitter.com/YsgprXyM7F— Lucian Fogoros #DistribuTECH (@fogoros) January 29, 2020
“Solar’s great,” says Paula Gold-Williams, CEO of San Antonio utility CPS Energy. “You just have to wrap something around it to make it effective.” #FutureOfEnergySA #BornHerePoweredHere#DTECH2020 https://t.co/ft4KwArJY0— Paula Gold-Williams (@Paula_GW) January 29, 2020