Hitting downtown Chicago earlier this month, representatives from The Energy Group attended the 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference held at the legendary Chicago Hilton & Towers.
The conference began on Wednesday morning, February 7 with a pre-conference summit where conference attendees discussed good policy for economic growth. Sound policy can drive energy efficiency investments and will lead to the creation of sustainable regional economic growth. There was a diverse perspective of advocacy and policymaker views on the value of contractor and business-led advocacy, the economic impact of energy efficiency and how we best leverage our collective efforts to shape future Midwest energy efficiency policy.
The afternoon was the official kick-off of the conference with a welcome and opening remarks from Jim Jerozal, Nicor Gas and Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) Board Chair. A keynote presentation from Anne Pramaggiore, CEO at ComEd followed with a plenary discussion on Midwest Regulators Leading the Way to an Energy Efficiency Future. The discussion included a panel of Midwest regulators and their efforts to value energy efficiency as a grid resource. Also discussed was recent regulatory decisions that impact how utilities deliver energy efficiency and engage customers.
After a short break, the conference had three breakout sessions that included topics: Amping Up: Strategic Electrification Benefits, Barriers & Concerns, Differentiating Non-Energy Benefits for Varied Customer Segments, and The Industrial Business Case for SEM. The first day of the conference concluded with a cocktail reception where conference attendees can network and stop by exhibitor booths.
The second day of the conference started with breakfast sponsored by Alliant Energy accompanied by opening remarks from MEEA Executive Director, Stacey Paradis. A plenary discussion on Energy Efficiency in the 21st Century followed. The moderated discussion with utility leaders highlighted their vision on how utilities can grow and be successful in the coming decades. The speakers discussed utilizing new technologies, responding to the evolving infrastructure and serving and engaging their customers in the future.
Breakout sessions took place after lunch and included the following topics: Weeding Out Energy Waste from the Cannabis Industry, How Being Human Shapes Our Marketing, and Rate Rate Don’t Tell Me: How Rate Design Impacts Energy Efficiency.
The following workshops were held later in the afternoon after a short break and discussed the following items: Overcoming Barriers to Intelligent Efficiency, Diversity Opportunities within Energy Efficiency, and EE First: The Right Way to Get to Net Zero Energy.
The second day of the conference concluded with a MEEA member reception and 2018 Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner & Gala.
Unfortunately, due to an impending winter storm due to hit Chicago the evening of Thursday, February 8, our team members had to leave the conference and the wonderful city of Chicago before the final day.
The conference was a successful gathering of energy efficiency professionals sharing ideas and opportunities for the growth and success of the industry while also protecting the environment for future generations to come.