h Session Descriptions 22021 State Energy Virtual Conference of North Carolina
2019 State Energy Coference of North Carolina: Connecting North Carolina's diverse energy economy






ON-demand Sessions

Utilities & Infrastructure: How North Carolina Utilities and Solar Developers Found Common Ground

Moderator: Larry Ostema, Partner & Co-Chair, Energy Industry Group, Nelson Mullins
Panelist: Rebecca Chilton, Corporate Counsel, Leyline Renewable Capital
Panelist: Jack Jirak, Associate General Counsel, Duke Energy
Panelist: Steve Levitas, Senior Vice President, Pine Gate Renewables
Panelist: Brian Duncan, Vice President, Substation and Transmission Services, Pike Engineering

In 2007 and the years immediately following, North Carolina utilities, solar developers, policy makers and regulators collaborated to create a combination of State and federal policies and incentives which would propel North Carolina to be the second leading solar generation state. By 2016, this success had “unintended consequences” with a waiting list for utility connection to the grid of more than 500 solar projects. In the fall of 2020 utilities, solar developers and regulators again collaborated to set North Carolina’s solar industry on a winning track. Join us to learn how they found common ground and the potential for solar generation in North Carolina.

Utilities & Infrastructure: Evolving Southeast Utility Regulation

Moderator: George Baldwin, Principal, Baldwin Consulting Group
Panelist: Richard C. (Rip) Sullivan Jr., Delegate (D-48), Virginia General Assembly
Panelist: Chris Ayers, Executive Director, North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff
Panelist: Belton Zeigler, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson
Panelist: Tim Echols, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission

Is the regulated utility business model—with ever-increasing utility capital investment as its foundation—still viable? With increasing third-party generation investment, reluctance by utility commissions and stakeholders to embark on significant grid investments, “behind the meter” encroachment on load and little or no load growth, how will regulated utilities fare in the coming years? Will there be monopoly roles in the future and, if so, what will these be and how will a regulated utility be rewarded? Will the return on equity model continue to dominate or will utilities be rewarded more generously for service provided and risks taken? Will performance-based ratemaking and multi-year ratemaking be employed? How will generation, transmission, distribution and customer service innovation by utilities and others be promoted and rewarded? What’s the likelihood of change near term, and what may we expect in the southeast United States?

Renewable Energy: Sharing North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Success Story

Moderator: Janelle Martin, Marketing Communications Specialist, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
Panelist: Cassandra Barba, Sales & Marketing Manager, Cape Fear Solar Systems
Panelist: Susan Munroe, Director of Economic Development, Chambers for Innovation in Clean Energy
Panelist: Jaime Simmons, Manager of Operations, Southeastern Wind Coalition

As the third ranked state in installed solar capacity, North Carolina is a renewable energy leader not just in is the southeast, but nationally. Success stories are perhaps the single most important factor in our transition to a stronger and more accessible renewable energy economy—success stories inspire, educate, celebrate, and expand future opportunities. They bring the good news of renewable energy to more people. This session will discuss the many ways that North Carolina’s renewable energy success story is told and shared more widely. It will examine different methods of storytelling and marketing that effectively educate, engage and inspire audiences in the southeast.

Renewable Energy: Developing the Future of North Carolina's Clean Energy Industry and Workforce

Moderator: Melissa Malkin-Weber, Sustainability Director, Self-Help Credit Union
Panelist: Allison Carr, Training Specialist, NC Clean Energy Technology Center
Panelist: Robyn Hamilton, Supplier Diversity Manager, Self-Help Credit Union
Panelist: Emily Violette, Global ACcount Executive, Schneider Electric

For North Carolina's clean energy industry to grow and thrive we need to tap into all the talent in our state--including people from groups that are underrepresented in the clean energy workforce now, such as women and people of color. This panel will describe efforts now underway from perspectives in the private sector, finance and policy practitioners.

Government & Institutional Buildings: Strategies for Funding and Procurement: 2021 and Beyond - Smart Infrastructure and Deferred Maintenance

Panelist: Tim Gasper, P.E., Energy Solutions Team Leader, Siemens
Panelist: Todd Thurlow, Director, Distributed Energy Systems, Siemens

Learn about creative financing and procurement strategies, for energy projects, trending nationally and locally in NC to help plan and execute facility and campus energy improvements. Adaptive financing approaches make energy projects feasible and can reframe strategic planning and budgeting long-term to combat significant deferred maintenance backlogs that strain equipment and staff, impair building comfort and energy performance and prevent facility and campus modernization.

Government & Institutional Buildings: Cybersecurity for Smart Buildings: A Changing Landscape of Benefits and Challenges

Panelist: Bill Coyle, Manager National Business Development, Siemens Industry
Panelist: Timur Kupa, Director, Information technology Solutions & Strategy, Siemens Industry
Panelist: Adam Chapman, Cybersecurity Officer, Siemens Industry

The benefits from digitalization are great, but cybersecurity must keep pace. It is a growing concern that hackers are increasingly targeting operational technology (OT). Attacks against OT have increased significantly in the last few years, a spike driven by aging assets, outdated security practices and increased connectivity. This session will focus on a high-level overview of the strategies, benefits and challenges of cybersecurity issues, Smart Buildings and digitalization. Discussion will also address the changing threat landscape in the Smart Buildings sector, and what the industry must do to prepare and why cybersecurity is essential.

Commercial & Industrial Buildings: Energy Analytics in Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Moderator: Jack Connell, Connell & Associates
Panelist: Kevin Lynn, Comprehensive Solutions, Brady
Panelist: Jean-Marie Bergeal, VP, Clairvoyance
Panelist: Paul Levy, P.E., CCP, Consultant, MCS Engineering
Panelist: Daniel Kauffman, President, Enpira

The rapid proliferation of analytics in all walks of life is creating as much confusion as benefit. Utility energy consumption and facility operations are particularly well suited to using big data and artificial intelligence. The past year has also made it crystal clear that indoor air quality management is critical. This session will explore the current state of the art of facility and energy analytics--what it means, how to get your money’s worth, the role of human intelligence and success stories in C&I facilities.

Commercial & Industrial Buildings: Cybersecurity for Operational Technology and Smart Buildings

Moderator: Jack Connell, Connell & Associates
Panelist: Kevin Smith, CTO, Tridium
Panelist: Lisa Donnan, Partner, Option3Ventures

The benefits of “smart” systems are great, but cybersecurity must keep pace. The growth of the IoT, IP edge devices, SaaS and more, is a growing opportunity for hackers targeting operational technology (OT) in all facilities. The good news is that the investment in innovation to counter this threat is also growing, playing a pivotal role in bringing cutting-edge technology into the market. For facility owners and managers, there are measures beyond software updates and robust passwords that all facilities should implement now, to stay ahead of the bad guys. This session will provide attendees with a detailed look at the cybersecurity world: what is being done, what should be done, and what you can do today.

Residential: Buying Solar and Finding the Best Solar Companies in a Growing Market

Moderator: Steve Kalland, Executive Director, NC Clean Technology Center
Panelist: Vikram Aggerwal, Founder & CEO, EnergySage
Panelist: Ben Smith, General Manager, Grid Strategy and Asset Management Governance, Duke Energy

North Carolina's solar market has historically been driven by larger, utility-scale deployment. But more recently, as installation costs have continued to decline and the rooftop solar industry has grown around the country, North Carolina has seen significant growth in homes using solar power. In 2020, around 5,500 Duke Energy customers installed solar. This brings the total number of Duke’s customers with solar up to 18,000 — triple what it was in 2017. This statewide growth is occurring against a backdrop of new solar providers in our market, energy storage add-on options being offered, shifting federal tax credits, Duke Energy solar rebates, and other programs and fees that vary across utilities in the state like net metering policies. This complexity has made it more important than ever for consumers to understand what they are buying and who is the best company to buy from for their needs. This panel will explore important questions that consumers should ask when making a decision to go solar and selecting a contractor to work with. The panel will also examine online platforms such as EnergySage, that help to vet reliable contractors and membership organizations like NCSEA that, through their member Code of Conduct work, ensure the highest professional standards.

Residential: Pathways to Decarbonization and Zero Energy Residential Homes

Moderator: Jamie Hage, Southern Energy Management
Panelist: Brian Adams, Ollo (Heron's Nest Environmental Village)
Panelist: Jodi Bakst, Array Sustainable Living
Panelist: Jay Epstein, Healthy Communities (Walnut Farm)
Panelist: Cor Rade, Array Sustainable Living

Transformational technologies, consumer choices, and policy are leading a growing conversation about decarbonization in the U.S. economy in 2021. What will decarbonization look like in the residential building sector? Technologies and policies will likely contribute to decarbonization through energy efficiency in exisiting homes and the construction of new, zero energy homes. This session will cover case studies in clean energy development in individual homes and smart communities that are pointing the way to our clean energy future. Speakers will share tested ideas as zero energy ready homes are being built today.

Grid Edge: Energy Resiliency: Leveraging Technology to Create a Stronger Grid

Moderator: Dr. Robert Cox, Associate Director, Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, UNC Charlotte
Panelist: Eric Dupoint, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, PowerSecure, Inc.
Panelist: Jay Oliver, General Manager, Grid Strategy and Asset Management Governance, Duke Energy
Panelist: Jason Abiecunas, Vice President, Development, FlexGen

Over the past two years, North Carolina has experienced numerous extreme weather events, which have impacted our electric grid and quality of life. What can be done to improve the resiliency of our existing grid, and what technologies are being developed to support localized, resilient power supply? This panel will discuss resiliency in North Carolina, the role of partnerships and the technologies paving the way for reliable power in the face of increasing grid stress, and how state policies and reports have influenced the move towards a more reliable, resilient grid.

Grid Edge: Grid Edge Technology Innovation: Key to Transforming Our Electric Grid

Moderator: Bob Irvin, Executive Director, Joules Accelerator
Panelist: Amadou Fall, Chief Operating Officer, North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives
Panelist: Jennifer Gallegos, Director of Programs & Communications, Yotta Energy
Panelist: Tiffany Menhorn, Director of North American Sales, LineVision
Panelist: Sunny Sanwar, Founder, Dynamhex

Technology innovation at the grid edge will be critical to achieving the decentralized, distributed, and decarbonized electric grid envisioned by utilities and consumers. What role will technology play as new generation sources and loads emerge? What can be done to accelerate the pace of deployment and achieve the “grid of the future”? This panel will feature leading Grid Edge startups who will discuss how their technology will transform the grid and their perspective about the future of electricity.

Bonus Track: Community Solar and Storage

Moderator: Bob Leker, Environmental Program Consultant, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Panelist: Ajulo E. Othow, Founder and CEO, EnerWealth Solutions
Panelist: David Sarkisian, Senior Project Manager, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center
Panelist: Kathy Miller, Marketing Manager, Fayetteville Public Works Commission

Innovation is occuring in NC as community solar programs enlarge and develop new models to share benefits between utilities, customers, and land owners. This session explores how community solar programs in NC are including support for low-income subscriptions, integrating energy storage, and developing models to share benefits with low-wealth communities and landowners. Session viewers will gain insights about community solar project design, the financial benefits of energy storage, funding low-income subscriptions, and sharing community solar/energy storage value streams with low-wealth communities. Speakers will include representatives from EnerWealth Solutions, a company devoted to developing solar + storage solutions building community wealth; the NC Clean Energy Technology Center which is rolling out a low-income community solar subscription project; and other organizations engaged with community solar.

Hot Topic Sessions

The Anatomy of Finding an Undetected Water Leak
Paul Bassett, Tim Gasper

This session will provide actual experience and case studies on the means and methods of what it takes to find an undetected water leak in a plumbing network. From water billing data analytics, to acoustical leak detection sensors, and boots on the ground, you will learn what it takes to find leaks, and what is the cost and savings to fix them. This presentation will help agencies develop programs that really work, spark the interest of key stakeholders, and provide tips and tools to use on your next energy savings performance contract/utility energy service contract projects.

Data Analytics for Utility Applications
Mike Mazzola, Tim Fairchild, Steve Whisenant

The theme of the Spring Meeting of the Center for Advanced Power Engineering Research (CAPER) is data analytics for utility applications. This hot topic will present key learnings abstracted from the presentations made by eleven different experts on the agenda of the meeting to be held on 25-26 March 2021. CAPER is an industry supported three-university consortium that includes Clemson University, NC State University, and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Energy Resilience & Conservation Practices at Military Bases
Jennifer Shaltanis, Michelle Wheeler

This spotlight session will feature energy resilience and conservation at Camp LeJeune and Fort Bragg, here in North Carolina. Participants on this session include Duke Energy and Ameresco, who are working to manage the Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) and its implementation on bases in the state. The financing plan of the partnership allows the bases to repay Duke Energy over time using the money it saves on its utility bills. Essentially, UESCs enable the military bases to do energy efficiency projects without the need for any additional funding, which makes these partnerships budget-neutral. This session will open the curtain behind these projects on military bases. The bases are the size of small cities making the list of items to do daunting and difficult in terms of priority setting.

Microgrid Research at NC State
Ken Dulaney, Srdjan Lukic

Microgrids can be an important component of resiliency planning. There are already several successful microgrid deployments in North Carolina and hundreds more around the US. But what happens when we have hundreds of microgrids operating together? How can we optimize energy storage to minimize costs? Can we apply machine learning with building management systems to minimize demand on the microgrid? And can we lower the cost of microgrid deployment? These and other research questions are being answered at the FREEDM Center at NC State. This video will provide high level explanations of our current microgrid projects and review our lab facilities.

Open Source Modeling to Inform Resilient, Low Carbon Electricity for North Carolina
Joe DeCarolis, Jordan Kern

The fast pace of technology innovation combined with the need to address climate change—reducing emissions and ensuring reliability during extreme weather events—is leading to rapid transformation of the electricity sector. In North Carolina, as in many states, debates over the cost, resilience, and environmental sustainability of our future electricity system is conducted with opaque models by both utilities and stakeholders, leading to confusion and disagreement that can be difficult to resolve. Open source models and data currently under development can be used to produce more transparent and technically rigorous analysis that can be scrutinized and improved by a wide array of stakeholders in North Carolina.

PV Recycling: Thinking Ahead to a New Market Opportunity
Simon Sandler, Sam Vanderhoof

PV recycling is a growing topic of discussion as solar provides a growing portion of electricity in the USA. This discussion will dive into the state of currently PV recycling technology, logistics, costs, barriers, and policies both in the US and abroad. Furthermore, we will unpack the results of the HB (2019) 329, the findings, and current implications for solar in NC, and what further policy might help achieve to reduce PV solar waste.

Solar-Plus for Electric Cooperatives: Tools and Best Practices for Electric Utilities Seeking to Deploy Energy Storage
David Sarkisian, Simon Sandler, Jill Cliburnf

The Solar-Plus for Electric Cooperatives (SPECs) Project, part of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN), has been working with electric cooperatives across the country to figure out the ins and outs of energy storage. The SPECs team has developed guidelines for procurement of storage, an economic modeling tool for evaluation of use cases, and other resources to support use of these tools. Although the project focused on electric cooperatives, the lessons learned and resources produced should be useful for all sorts of utilities, including municipal and investor-owned utilities. Speakers will present the tools and resources developed by the project and explain their applicability.

Workforce Development and DEI in Offshore Wind
Diana Godlevskaya, Jennifer Palestrant, Julianna Schroeger

As the country moves forward to take advantage of the resource and economic development potential of offshore wind, engaging local workforce and underserved communities remains a priority. In this topic discussion, we'll discuss what programs already exist in states that are going full force on offshore wind and what insights can be gleaned for North Carolina.