Baltimore — Robert Wilkins, vice president public affairs, Danfoss, North America, moderated an executive dialogue session during the 2013 Energy Efficiency Global Forum (EE Global) held in Washington, D.C., on May 20 and 21.
For the sixth year, Danfoss, a leading manufacturer of high efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and motion systems, sponsored the event. Hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy, the forum attracted more than 550 energy leaders representing the public and private sectors. Attendees from six continents were invited to participate in broad-vision plenary and intensive learning sessions intended to generate robust debate, partnership-building and idea-sharing among senior government officials, corporate executives and industry experts.
In the session moderated by Wilkins – Seeing Beyond the Now – a panel of experts focused on several trends that are coming together to shape the future role of the electric utility industry in improving America’s energy productivity and utilization, including increased distributed generation (DG) and demand response, as well as the growth of renewable energy and emerging technologies.
“In addition to higher efficiency and variable speed air conditioning, pumps and motors, we can point to a number of emerging and expanding load-side technologies that are impacting the electric utility industry in a positive way,” said Wilkins. “Energy recovery systems, on-site renewable energy sources – especially solar photovoltaic panels – and on-site gas-fired combined heat and power systems are increasing in popularity as companies look to improve the efficiency of their operations.
“At the same time, utilities are assisting in these efforts by developing customer-oriented strategies, offering energy efficiency and demand response programs as well as new rate and pricing structures that encourage companies to think about their energy consumption in new ways and take the appropriate steps to support energy conservation while promoting cost savings.”
The panel comprised leading experts from NYSERDA, EPRI, Duke Energy, National Grid and Congressman Paul Tonko, who was formerly president of NYSERDA and now serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Together, they emphasized that the convergence of energy efficiency, information technology and DG is changing the game for both the electric utility industry and consumers as they consider energy efficiency. Panelists agreed that there is a need for reforms in the electric utility regulatory structure and utility business models to adapt to this new reality.
Robert Wilkins, vice president public affairs, Danfoss, North America, moderates a panel discussion between experts at EE Global 2013.