It’s DTECH Time! What to expect in 2020

By Jennifer Runyon

With so much new and exciting in the energy delivery space, DTECH is a must-attend for anyone who works with energy on the distribution side of the grid. Here’s a quick look at what to expect in San Antonio this week.

At DISTRIBUTECH International, we strive to give attendees a good look at the future of energy — where the industry is headed and what could challenge operations. We have two compelling keynote speakers that will do just that.

Paula Gold-Williams, President and CEO of CPS Energy, will discuss why she coined the term ‘People First’ at CPS Energy and talk about how the utility is evolving its efforts to create and deliver value to its customers, community, and employees into a new age of energy solutions. 

Sophie Hackford, futurist, will give a talk on the new technologies that are defining the new economy today. She’s an accomplished speaker who travels the world wowing audiences with her insight. This is a talk you surely won’t want to miss.

New for 2020

We’ve added a few elements to the event that we think make it stronger and more engaging for our visitors. In addition to our high-level keynote speakers, we’ve found four luminaries who will enlighten audiences through 30-minute talks in our Knowledge Hubs throughout the event.

Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance will focus on decarbonization of the power sector in her talk on Tuesday morning in the Decarbonizing the Grid Hub.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, President and CEO of the Energy Storage Association will give a talk about why energy storage is the central hub to a clean energy ecosystem in her talk on Tuesday morning in the Innovating and Emerging Technologies Hub.

Susan Russo, President and CEO of Pecan Street Project will explain why we need a “brain” that will bring together smart transportation and smart infrastructure into the smart city ecosystem. She’ll be speaking in the e-Mobility and Smart Cities Hub on Tuesday afternoon.

Technology evangelist Kevin O’Donovan is the luminary speaker for the Digitalizing the Grid Knowledge Hub. O’Donovan says that he bridges the gap between the hype and the reality related to the energy transition.

We’re also bringing a documentary to DISTRIBUTECH! We’ll be screening “Thirst for Power” during one of our mega-sessions on Wednesday. This is the first time that we’ve shown a film at the event. The documentary explores the history of civilization’s quest to procure abundant water and energy – from ancient Roman aqueducts to modern America’s vast hydroelectric infrastructure. The film explores our dependence on water for energy, as well as vulnerabilities in our current systems.

Following the film will be a panel discussion with Michael Webber, producer, Paula Gold-Williams, CEO of CPS Energy, Sharelynn Moore, SVP of Itron and Kimberly Britton, CEO of EPIcenter. 

If the screening isn’t up your alley, DTECH offers four other mega-sessions covering new distribution grid models, the electrification of transportation, communications networks and how digital solutions are enabling a decarbonized grid. See them all here.  

We are delighted to announce that we’ve added even more startups to DISTRIBUTECH 2020. At last year’s event, we launched Initiate!, our first ever exhibit space for a select few start-ups. The program was so popular that we’ve expanded it to 21 innovative, young companies that will pitch to a panel of judges that will ultimately decide the winner.

Other topics of discussion at DTECH

We can’t go so far as saying that 2019 was the year of the disaster, but for the electric utility industry, there was a lot of focus on natural disasters like wildfires (and their horrible repercussions) over the course of the year. For the energy industry, natural disasters present challenges not just in outage management but also in customer communications. Today, customers want to know exactly when their power is going to be restored and utilities are working on technologies that help them with those important customer communications.

We have plenty of content in store for incident response (including cybersecurity) and customer communications at #DTECH2020.

While natural disasters and increasing consumer-demands represent outside forces pushing utilities to modernize, internal pressures are also forcing utilities to evolve. Grid modernization activities that utilities are engaged with include how to improve distribution automation, finding the best use case and implementation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), overall asset management activities, data analytics and enterprise grid management.

Significant content will cover grid modernizationat #DTECH2020.

As if keeping the lights on, the power cheap, and the assets resilient wasn’t enough, the other demand that utilities are facing is how to get carbon emissions out of their energy systems. That’s why we’ve launched a full solar + storage experience at #DTECH2020, where for the first time we’ll have solar developers explaining how to build large-scale solar projects in a co-located event.

Let’s not forget energy storage, which was our most-attended track in 2019. We’re offering a Utility University course on Planning for Integration of Distributed Generation, Energy Storage and Microgrids in Smart Distribution Systems plus an entire energy storage track with sessions covering how to improve reliability for remote communities and rural areas with battery energy storage systems; lessons from energy storage deployments in New York and California; plus a session that explores choosing the right behind-the-meter storage delivery model.

If you are in the energy delivery business, DISTRIBUTECH has education, and networking, for you that will help you improve how you do your job today and give you insights into what’s coming in the future. See you there!

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