Once again this year, CIET took part in the AESP National Conference, which took place from the 21-24th of January in San Antonio. AESP’s flagship event was attended by around 800 participants from utilities companies, program implementers, evaluators and other program service providers, as well as manufacturers and software companies from Canada and the United States.
If Blockchain and big data collection were the key themes of last year’s conference, this year Electrification was the hot topic, with several well-attended sessions devoted to its different aspects. One utility – Tennessee Valley Authority – announced that in 2018 it had shifted its energy efficiency budgets to advance electrification. Such shifts also enable utilities to prepare to accommodate more vehicle electrification, which is rapidly progressing toward maturity. Two utilities discussed local and regional efforts to build electrified transportation corridors on the American highway network, and others discussed early stage work with partners to offer widespread EV charging.
Another theme of late for utilities and LDCs is the use of modern technologies to connect with traditional customers. Among the innovations discussed this year was the efforts by an American utilities company (Duke Energy) to make learning about energy conservation and available CDM programs fun for residential customers by disseminating this information using a game app to be made available for free download to phones and tablets. Another innovation in the works is the use of smart speakers and voice control gadgets (such as Echo and Google Assistant) to transmit energy efficiency tips, check energy usage, and get information about locally available EE programs and subsidies.
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