Innovation Summit Day 3: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Utilities, Sourcing Renewables  -  February 28, 2018

Innovation Summit Day 3: Strategies for the Future

Smart Energy Decisions concluded its 2018 Innovation Summit on February 27 in Austin with a day packed with sessions supporting this year’s event theme, the future of energy management.

There was a duo of keynote presentations that provided an up-close look at the energy strategies of two leading companies, Kingspan and Corning, with insight into their energy strategies and long-term goals.

Kingspan’s Brent Trenga, building technology director, North America, outlined the company’s global strategy around its net zero efforts. Trenga discussed the company’s plan to save, generate and buy clean energy and reduce consumption across its 110 manufacturing facilities worldwide as it moves towards it 2020 net zero goal

Helping to achieve its energy targets are: natural day lighting programs where facilities are not using lights at all during the day, which achieved a  reduction in CO2 emissions; LED lighting programs that have a return-on-investment of two to three years in the U.S. and faster in Europe; rooftop solar arrays, as well as the incorporation of other technologies.

The day’s final keynote presentation was from J.T. Hufnagel, global energy operations manager, Corning, who spoke about Corning’s global energy management strategy. 

Corning has five major business segments: display technologies that produce glass substraights for LEDs; optical communications; environmental technologies; life sciences; and specialty materials. Corning’s energy management programs are managed through its Global Energy Management (GEM) program, an internal consulting and implementation partner focused on managing and minimizing energy use. Founded in 2006, GEM has saved hundreds of millions of dollars on energy costs since its inception.

GEM maintains five broad strategies related to energy, water and nature resource management: continuous improvement; incorporate these into product development, product design, and manufacturing processes; engage employees and suppliers; ensure Corning meets customer requirements regarding these points; analyze and communicate Corning’s progress and successes in these areas and with external stockholders.

The day’s other presentations included:

Panel: The evolving utility-customer relationship

Ali Ahmed, principal, Green Strategies LLC (moderator)
Bob Valair, director of energy and environmental management, Staples
Dave Zita, global category manager of premises and utilities, InterContinental Hotels Group
Denis E. George, coordinator, enterprise sourcing, The Kroger Company
Barry Mosser, manager national customer - economic and business development, American Electric Power
Chris Kilpatrick, director of resource planning, Black Hills Energy Group

Panelists stressed the benefits of building and maintaining personal relationships with their utility providers to ensure adequate service and quick response times when a  crisis occurs, especially natural disasters such as hurricanes. They noted the importance of these relationships when bringing new buildings online. Having senior management weigh in helps strengthen the relationships and that more than one area of touch between companies solidifies strong bonds.

 Valair said Staples works with more than 800 utilities and the personal relationships he’s fostered have paid huge dividends To keep all of the relationships strong, he holds summits to bring in all parties and keep them engaged.

 Denis George asserted that the energy opportunities are in the details and bringing data to bear helps all parties.

 Utility companies are more engaged now, too. Kilpatrick agreed that utilities have to listen to their customers and know where the pain points are. Mosser noted that customers don't want to be in the energy business so they can focus on their core business.

 Special session: How Will Blockchain Impact Energy and Sustainability Management?

Chris Buzby, senior manager, corporate strategy, innovation and sustainability, Constellation
Lev Goldberg, principal, strategy, Constellation

John Failla, founder and editorial director of Smart Energy Decisions introduced this session as a topic for the future. The goal was to help raise awareness in the community. According to recent SED survey results of Innovation Summit attendees, 60% were aware of blockchain technology before the session and 40% didn’t know what it was about.

Constellation added blockchain to its portfolio three years ago, said Buzby. Blockchain is a shared digital ledger, or database, able to verify transactions taking place; and is cryptographically secure. The system provides for peer-to-peer transactions (i.e. can be transferred between individuals) and there is an immutable history (verified transaction is combined with other transactions – they’re all chained together). The network and ledger are always growing and there are many variations of this technology. The key is that records cannot be altered. Users can follow the token and ownership is transferred.

Networking Lunch: Update on ERCOT

Kenan Ogleman, VP, Commercial Operations, ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas),.

Ogleman said ERCOT, which manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers – 90% of the state’s electric load – was the first disrupter for wind energy in Texas. There are few state incentives and transmissions can be built very quickly. He sees rapid growth ahead for solar.

Ogleman said he is excited about start-up companies addressing consumer preferences and building algorithms that enable them to switch a customer from one retailer to another based on their preferences – now mainly on price but it could be on other factors such as a preference for renewables.

Panel: Effectively Using Energy Data Analytics Insight

Ali Ahmed, principal, Green Strategies, LLC (moderator)
Dave Peterson, energy manager, Petco
John Lembo, senior engineering associate, WeWork
Jay Dietrich, distinguished engineer: energy and climate stewardship, IBM

Data drives energy program effectiveness and the lack of accurate, current data leads to longer paybacks and less efficiency. Panelists agreed that by having C-suite buy-in earlier in the process, the effectiveness of their energy programs would have been quicker.

Lembo commented that sometimes there is a need to educate top executives with detail that is outside of their core expertise. WeWork, which is growing rapidly, has faced data gaps due to its fast-paced growth.

Peterson was surprised by data gaps that were revealed once the chain’s systems matured, including the number of stores routinely overriding heating and cooling systems, sensor issues and more. He’s now trying to engage more with facilities and architectural services and is looking at prototypes to isolate criteria to see how they’re performing compared to other stores.

Dietrich is pleased with the extent of the energy savings and how far IBM has been able to propagate the systems, achieving a lot of positive results. His team will continue to look for ways to improve and enhance outcomes.

Photos: Keynote Speaker Brent Trenga; Panelists Dave Peterson, John Lembo, Jay Dietrich, Ali Ahmed.


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