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Day One of Itron Inspire: Powering the Energy Transition

Itron Inspire 2023 Day One Recap

Itron Inspire 2023 is off to a great start! We’re feeling inspired by the numerous thought-leadership panels, networking events and breakout sessions that are delving into the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapidly advancing energy transition, with a focus on creating a better connected, more resourceful world.  

If you missed day one or need a refresher, here are a few of the highlights: 

A Rapidly-Evolving Energy Landscape
To kick off day one of Itron Inspire, attendees heard from Tom Deitrich, Itron president and CEO, about the current state of the energy landscape and how it continues to evolve. Tom emphasized the increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events that will continue to disrupt utility operations, and the urgent need for more visibility given the volatile world we live in today. He goes on to discuss factors such as changing consumer expectations, increasing electric vehicle adoption (approximately 50% growth year over year) as well as growth in the variability and complexity of the grid – all of which are critical factors we need to think about collectively to move forward with the energy transition. This is why agile and flexible infrastructure is paramount for utilities. Successful grid modernization begins with a forward-thinking vision, a willingness to experiment with cutting-edge technologies and a people-first mindset. Tom then invited Itron's Tim Driscoll, director of technology innovation, to the keynote stage to demonstrate Itron's technology in action. The demo consisted of a simulated power outage due to a transformer overload from an influx of electric vehicles, followed by Itron's grid edge manager balancing the grid with distributed energy resources to bring back power.

Attendees also heard from executives from our co-host utilities including Rudy Garza, president and CEO of CPS Energy and Robert Puente, president and CEO of San Antonio Water System (SAWS), who are exceptionalH  examples of utility collaboration in action as they discussed how their organizations’ sharing of infrastructure continues to benefit the community of San Antonio, TX. In addition, Itron’s Marina Donovan, vice president of corporate marketing, ESG and public affairs, announced the release of the 2023 Resourcefulness Insight Report, which examines the view of the energy transition among utility executives and state utility commissioners. 

Day One Keynote

Solving the Water Scarcity Crisis 
Next, attendees headed to a series of breakout sessions. In this session, "Solving Water Scarcity Challenges with Advanced Analytics," Provo Water’s Cora Malcolm presented an issue facing utilities everywhere: water scarcity. This is a pressing, global challenge that demands innovative and effective management. Factors such as agricultural pollution, systematic stresses, deteriorating water quality, climate disruption and more are all contributing to the urgent need for utilities to preserve the world’s most precious resource. However, with the integration of advanced analytics, utilities can gain access to valuable insights that inform decision making processes and resolve some of these challenges. Cora also emphasized the importance of collaboration between water utilities, governments, communities and other stakeholders to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply for the future. Embracing technology-driven solutions will be key as utilities look to reduce water loss and enhance conservation efforts. 

Breakout Session 2

Exploring the Future of AMI 
During the first big picture session, "Enabling Next-Generation AMI," sponsored by Capgemini, attendees heard from a panel of industry experts about how utilities and cities can enable next-generation advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) that’s reliable, resilient and efficient. This engaging and forward-thinking discussion was moderated by Rob Chapman, Electric Power Research Institute, and included panelists Spencer Gill, Hydro One, Vidya Rangachar, CPS Energy, Dennis DeMera, Las Vegas Valley Water District, and Hariharan Krishnamurthy, Capgemini. As utilities face challenges related to the increase in electrified transportation, distributed energy resources, environmental pressures, mandates for carbon reduction and more – all panelists agreed that the grid is facing more demands than ever before. Intelligence at the grid edge is critical to achieving better-informed decisions, quicker response time and more efficient operations.

Day 1 Big Picture 

Reaping the Benefits of Distribution Automation 
In this session, "Enhancing Grid Stability and Reliability at ComEd Through Networked Distribution Automation," Giri Iyer, Sentient Energy and Ryan Mayer, ComEd, discussed leveraging intelligent sensors connected to Itron’s IoT network to swiftly assess and restore customer outages. Previously, field employees relied on patrols and non-communicating fault indicators to locate faults on the system. By deploying distribution automation (DA), real-time AMI data and intelligent sensors, utilities can take a page out of ComEd’s book and experience improved grid stability and reliability in the face of a rapidly evolving energy landscape.  

Breakout Session 1

Hearing from Today’s Inspiring Leaders 
Day one came to a close with a fantastic "Women Who Inspire" session. The panel highlighted perspectives, experiences and insights from leaders who are driving the energy transition forward and inspiring others along the way. Now in its eighth year, this engaging session was moderated by Hydro One's Andrea Nuesser and invited panelists Mary Bailey, San Antonio Water System, Robin Dail Massanopoli, Dominion Energy, and Brianne Jordan, Pepco Holdings to candidly share about navigating their career paths, managing work/life balance, ways men in the industry can support women in their careers and much more. 

Day One Women who Inspire

We hope you’re enjoying Itron Inspire 2023 as much as we are! To keep up with live updates throughout the conference, follow Itron and use the hashtag #ItronInspire23 on social media.