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Mar 14, 2018

DER Planning Discussions Prevailed at TechAdvantage 2018

by Todd Owen, Senior Sales Manager, Atonix Digital

I love TechAdvantage. It is one of the few conferences in our industry where utility and technology vendor attendance numbers are nearly 1:1. People coming together from all over the country once a year to discuss, share best practices and solve the ever-evolving challenges of the Electric Cooperative. NRECA’s TechAdvantage 2018 in Nashville did not disappoint. Attendance this year according to the NRECA was as follows:

Annual Meeting - 6,173

TechAdvantage Conference - 1,530

Exhibitors/Vendors - 1,997

And, the Verizon-sponsored Trace Atkins concert was a blast!

I attended eight sessions and spent quite a bit of time in the exhibit hall. I enjoyed meeting and speaking with several cooperative team members and technology providers throughout my 2 ½ days in Nashville. The sessions were great but the interaction with the wide range of industry stakeholders was even better. During these discussions the same question came up time after time, “what are we going to do about all these DER’s coming onto our system?” For many of the people I spoke with the DER revolution is already here. For the rest, it sounded like it is just around the corner. Either way, most felt there was a need to do more to properly prepare and address the challenges including wide ranging grid impacts, rate design, valuation of services, energy storage and EV’s. The growing adoption and grid impact of electric vehicles are a big concern. Maybe not yet for many Coops, but the folks I talked with are watching the EV revolution unfold elsewhere to learn and prepare for its eventual arrival.

These are exciting and challenging times for all electric utilities including Electric Cooperatives. The good news is that help is available to navigate these uncharted waters. With proper planning in today’s disruptive environment, Atonix Digital has shown clients how to plan and create multidimensional views of systems, assets and energy resources like DER’s now and into the future. The result is accurate modeling of the grid’s future for better decision making today. Often using data, the Electric Cooperative already has. If you would like to learn more about how to leverage your data to see the future, please check out these resources or, better yet, give me a call at 303-349-5047. See you next year in Orlando.