INDIANAPOLIS – In his closing remarks at Electrify Indiana 2022, Keith Dennis was focused on people, not technology.
“If we’re going to meet (the beneficial electrification) challenge and do it in a way that strengthens us, we have to work together,” said Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League (BEL). “Part of working together is getting together, understanding where each other is coming from, and we had the right crowd here to do that.”
The crowd assembled at The Westin in Indianapolis for the September 22 event, co-hosted by Hoosier Energy and Wabash Valley Power Alliance along with BEL, was nearly 300 strong with 33 sponsors and 23 exhibitors on hand as Hoosier Energy’s Blake Kleaving kicked off the official proceedings around 8:30 a.m.
It was a group of like-minded people who gleaned information from panel discussions with industry leaders, legislative leaders, business leaders and local utility leaders, including breakout sessions on consumer-facing programs, battery storage, electric school buses, off-peak strategies and HVAC technologies.
“I thought it was great,” Hoosier Energy Key Accounts Manager Mike Owens said. “Especially the breakout sessions, which were smaller and could address more of your own questions. I got a lot of answers.
“… Plus seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, just touching base with them. Some people that normally work remote were even her, which was great.”
That feeling highlighted the benefit of not only the official sessions but the networking breaks in between sessions which often were accompanied by a multitude of snacks from which to choose. It also provided an opportunity to walk away with tangible plans for the future, as panelist Norm Campbell, Federal Team Manager for Go Electric headquartered in Anderson, found out.
“A fellow came in here with one of the rural co-ops and said, ‘Yeah, it’s beneficial for us to go do a project with battery storage as opposed to just solar because now we can ask them to do things when our gird is stressed, and they might be able to help us out.’” Campbell recalled. “My comment was, ‘Can you and I talk to the customer and show them not only what I do but how it helps you?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go do that.’
“At the end of the day, maybe something gets installed, maybe it doesn’t, and that’s fine. But it’s a mutual benefit – the customer benefits, the utility benefits, certainly I would benefit. This event has been very positive, and I look forward to the next time we have a get-together here.”
He wasn’t the only one looking ahead. It has been three years since the previous Electrify Indiana event in 2019 and barring another global pandemic, the wait will be much shorter for the next one.
“I see everyone here, mostly central to Indiana, they work in this area and know each other,” said Bianca Jimenez, panelist and host of the Enel X Way vendor booth. “That’s exciting, and I hope to come back to a few (of these) in a row to see a lot of the same faces.”
That kind of response was a product of the people and the atmosphere that made Electrify Indiana 2022 what it was.
“It feels more like a family reunion than a tradeshow,” said Steven Brisley of California-based Camus Energy.