The theme for last month's EEI energy workshop encompassed three core values: sustainability, resiliency, and diversity. However, as our CEO Glen Schrank who helped represent our team at the event noted, there was a "tsunami emphasis on reducing greenhouse gases at all levels—from EEI, ASHRAE and corporate levels to federal, state, and local governments".
EEI Fall National Accounts Recap
Over 150 national companies attended the annual fall event, with big box stores, hospitality, and retail businesses coming together with peers and utilities and energy management solution companies to talk about trends, technology, legislation, and goals in our industry.
On the topic of sustainability, there was a lot of discussion on how utilities and national accounts can work together to reach 2040 Net Zero goals. To accomplish this, the consensus was that steps must be taken now that involve policy changes, advances in technologies, and planning and coordination with utilities.
The overarching discussion on resiliency surrounded the importance of budgeting and preparing for extreme weather in response to climate change. There was also a focus on how utilities and businesses need to work together as the world moves more towards electric power.
The sessions on diversity extended beyond improving diversity internally and included making efforts to support partners and suppliers with their diversity policies and goals, as McDonald’s demonstrated in showcasing their Supplier Diversity Handbook and Pledge. Another point emphasized in these sessions is that diversity aids in the process of moving towards our collective clean energy goals.
Phoenix at EEI
Our team manning the PhoenixET booth shared technology involved in intelligent buildings, automating workflows from store calls to resolution, and building analytics to help energy and facility managers better maintain and report on portfolios.
PhoenixET Booth, EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
Some data we shared that captured a lot of attention was derived from a customer case study that shows how well automating building management through intelligent building sensors and artificial intelligence performs. Over the course of a year, our client achieved a 44% efficiency gain in managing their stores nationwide by improving alarm accuracy through these tools.
PhoenixET Customer Success Data, 2021
EEI Session Highlights
Game Changers in the Energy Industry
EEI's Steve Rosenstock focused his talk, Impacts of New Codes, Laws, and Regulations of Your Buildings, on the "game changers" we need to be aware that are happening, including:
- The Department of Energy is now estimating carbon savings and using Social Cost of Carbon to monetize
- The ICC has moved to a consensus-based standard development process
- States are starting to sign into law significant "net zero" targets with short-term plans to reach them
- States and local governments are enacting the toughest laws yet on restricting the use of natural gas for water and space heating, with heavier fines for failing to disclose building performances and tougher penalties for not complying with reduction targets being rolled out
The push to move away from carbon/greenhouse emissions is being incentivized more and more, with tighter penalties and requirements being enforced. Some states are now requiring all remodeling or new commercial buildings and residential homes to be "battery charge ready" with strict restrictions on setting up gas.
Charge Ready Program
Edison International President/CEO Pedro Pizarro gave the welcoming address at EEI and shared Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Pathway 2045 plan, designed to examine the implications of California’s long-term decarbonization goals on the electric sector and across the economy.
Pathway 2045 involves SCE's extended Charge Ready Program, which ultimately provides funding for 38,000 EV chargers over the next four years to support massive EV adoption in California and seeks to help the state achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. Goals such as Gov Gavin Newsom's executive order aims to have all vehicles sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
SCE is working towards their goals by first undertaking a comprehensive assessment to address how the grid must change to support sustainability goals while adapting to other needs driven by customers and climate change. They are using artificial intelligence and smart analytics to collect data and drones (such as below) for aerial view and assessment of power lines.
Drones Showcased (Edison International), EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
A Carbon Free Energy Economy - QA With Experts
EEI's QA sessions are well attended and foster solid engagement between attendees and industry leaders. One such session, the 100% Carbon Free Energy Economy featured some heavy hitters and great dialogue.
The session began with the panelists discussing what their respective companies are doing to move to carbon free. Walmart Energy Services Director Steve Chriss shared that Walmart is moving its buildings, fleets, and refrigerants to clean energy to meet its 2040 zero-carbon goal. General Motors Energy, Strategy, & Sustainability leader Rob Threlkeld talked about how GM is initiating their Transportation Electrification Program to be zero carbon neutral by 2040.
The panel, which also included Edison Energy's VP of Strategy & Sustainability Emily Williams and Edison International President/CEO Pedro Pizarro, then took audience questions, including:
Q. How do we move the whole industry forward?
A. Put a price on carbon. People are more incentivized when there is a cost. - Steve Chriss
A. We need to make sure that rural areas have access to clean, renewable technology. Rob Threlkeld
Q. Speaking of the white elephant in the room, what happens when clean energy fails, for example - no wind for wind power?
A. EEI and utilities are working with Washington on policies not to let that fail. We need to be prepared for the extremes. - Pedro Pizarro
A. We need to address and evolve our technology and policies. Climate change is driving resiliency change. - Rob Threlkeld
Powering the Transformation to Electric Mobility
Shell company Greenlots CEO Andreas Lips talked about the huge shift toward electric cars in a general session. He said if you had paid attention to the most recent Super Bowl ads, you would have noticed that all of the auto ads were for electric vehicles. And for good reason:
- Hertz just ordered 100,000 Teslas
- Ford is introducing it’s F-150 Lightning Electric Truck in 2022
- Porsche has unveiled its Cayenne E-Hybrid
- Firetrucks, garbage trucks, and semis are all moving toward electric, with Volvo making inroads with electric trucks via their Volvo LIGHTS project.
Electric Semi Showcased (Freightliner), EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
Andreas says all of this means that Greenlots must partner with utilities for rates and consumption. He also discussed that there needs to be more R&D to improve batteries and ways for disposal and talked about how we will have to transition some of our normal processes. He added the example of the latter, noting that Amazon will have to allocate time for electric trucks to be charged.
Electric Charging Stations Showcased (Greenlots), EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
Phoenix After Party
Of course EEI would not be complete without the infamous PhoenixET After Party, and like all the others before, this one did not disappoint. Held in the beautiful Hyatt Beacon Ballroom and Rotunda, the event was well attended by those donned in their “Jeans and Jerseys” costumes, and a big thanks goes to DJ Mike Carcano for getting everyone onto the dance floor.
PhoenixET CEO Glen Schrank, EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
PhoenixET's Stephanie Leslie and Richard Coombe, EEI Fall Workshop, 2021
Phoenix After Dinner
(Clockwise from bottom left) Ryan Adelman - VP, Corporate Business Development, PHX / Raul Pacheco - Strategic Energy Manager, Salt River Project / Safia Nieves - Energy & Environmental Programs and Procurement, Rite Aid Corp. / Tammy Coombe (Family Member) / Richard Coombe - Program Manager, PHX / Michael McMahon - VP Sales, PHX / Victor Munoz - Corp Manager, Utilities & Energy Utilization, Albertsons / Glen Schrank - CEO, PHX / Colin Greer - Principal, GEM Consulting / Stephanie Leslie - National Accounts Manager, PHX / Amber Landeen, Event Coordinator, PHX / Michaela Quinzy - VP Operations, PHX
Next EEI Event
We hope to see you at the next EEI event, the Spring National Key Accounts Workshop on March 20-23, 2022 in NOLA!