Beyond the Meter - Episode 9

Beyond the Meter - Episode 9: Resiliency and Technology in Cities

Resiliency and Technology in Cities with Michael Kilpatrick, Jane Nickles, Butch Shumate and Sergey Kobelev


Most of us live day to day in our city of choice without giving much thought to the infrastructure and services that living in the city provides. But when a natural disaster or outage happens, we immediately recognize that vitally important things were going on behind the scenes that we benefit from directly.

This episode highlights the steps the city of Greensboro, NC has taken to begin its “Smart City” initiative, which includes a number of renewable energy approaches. You’ll enjoy hearing from three officials from the city of Greensboro and how their varied roles provide unique looks at the challenges of becoming a Smart City.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • The guests on this episode and their role in energy & renewables [0:58]
  • How Greensboro started its “Smart City” journey [4:48]
  • The overview of Greensboro’s energy management evolution [9:01]
  • Greensboro’s actions compared to other municipalities [12:59]
  • The consequences associated with power outages for cities [18:08]
  • How does resiliency intersect with renewable energy sources? [26:25]
  • Greensboro’s kiosk program: why it was created and what it’s accomplished [28:43]
  • How Duke and other energy suppliers can partner toward renewables [33:46]
  • Prioritizing investments in smart city and renewable energy projects [35:41]
  • Are energy-as-a-service programs helpful for municipalities? [40:10]
  • Emerging priorities for cities and the communities they serve [47:17]

The Smart City journey the City of Greensboro is on

The city of Greensboro, North Carolina started its journey to becoming a Smart City when neighboring cities began working on fiber installations. Greensboro’s leadership began investigating its own options for fiber installations since high-speed data connections are foundational to the technology needed to implement Smart City approaches. From there, many additional developments have come about.

In their current approach, the city’s leaders are continuing to ask, “How can we leverage the Smart Cities approach for growth and economic development?” Some of the initiatives they’ve implemented so far are the city’s smart connected corridor, which includes informational kiosks visitors can use to find out about the city, locate destinations, and connect with public transportation. Find out more by listening to this conversation!

Why resiliency is vital for municipalities like Greensboro

The situation in Greensboro mirrors the reality of many municipalities around the nation. For Greensboro, 30 out of 80 facilities are emergency-related, so when the power for the city experiences a disruption, there’s not only a dollar impact, it can also create a logistics nightmare. A tornado a few years ago made it abundantly clear that resiliency for the city’s power grid was of the utmost importance.

Greensboro’s CIO, Jane Nickles says that if the data center goes down, everything in the city shuts down, and it would take days to get the data center back up. For that reason one of the resiliency measures they are adopting is a migration of everything possible to the cloud. As well, all projects — Smart City related or not — have resiliency in mind. From the creation of “battery buses” to the use of solar power to charge them, the city is well on the way to making its power needs resilient.

How Greensboro pursues financing through partnerships

City budgets are not known for being lavish and the budget in Greensboro is no exception. The city had no budget at all set aside for Smart City initiatives when the idea came to the forefront, so those leading the charge had to look for partners. When they keep their ears open to what’s going on in the city and do the legwork of discovering what projects are slated by other companies, they can often find ways to attach a Smart City initiative to that project. These are collaborations that enable them to leverage Smart City ideas into the projects other organizations are already budgeting. Listen to learn more about how Greensboro is utilizing smart energy and building resilient systems.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Our Guests

Michael Kilpatrick, Key Segment Manager, State Governments, Municipalities, and Co-ops

Michael leads strategic planning and engagement within state government, municipal, and co-op segments and is tasked with expanding revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction by delivering solutions from an array of Duke Energy products and services, including but not limited to renewables, microgrids, and other energy-as-a-service offerings.

Jane Nickles, CIO, City of Greensboro

As CIO for the City of Greensboro, Jane Nickles serves in the executive capacity as the director of Information Technology and Enterprise Solutions. Under Jane’s leadership, the City of Greensboro has been recognized as a Top 10 Digital City by the Center for Digital Government since 2014. Jane led the TriGig Regional High Speed Broadband initiative to bring competitive gigabit internet services to Greensboro and surrounding areas. Other areas of focus include Data Driven Government, Open Data strategies, Digital Equity, Smart City initiatives and continuous innovation.

Butch Shumate, Facilities Manager at City of Greensboro

Butch is an experienced Division Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. Skilled in Budgeting, Contractors, Government, Project Estimation, and Facility Management (FM).

Sergey Kobelev,
Energy and Sustainability Management Engineer

Sergey Kobelev serves as the Energy Management Engineer for the city of Greensboro facilities, a position he has had since 2017. In this role, Sergey works to improve sustainability and energy efficiency in over 80 buildings and structures of the city of Greensboro Facilities. His primary focus is on improving existing energy conservation policies and developing new ones, often by incorporating emerging technology for the City facilities to achieve financial and sustainability goals set by the City Council.

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