Last week, co-op leaders joined over 800 of their utility and energy industry colleagues at N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh for the 2023 State Energy Conference of North Carolina. With over 70 speakers, including Governor Roy Cooper, the 2-day conference gave co-op representatives the opportunity to discuss industry issues and share insights and case studies into how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are building a brighter future for rural communities through technology and innovation.
At the conference, which is hosted by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, co-op leaders and representatives shared their perspectives on several topics related to grid resiliency and reliability, electric vehicles, beneficial electrification and more. Panelists from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives included:
- Marshall Cherry, president and CEO of Roanoke Cooperative, and Joseph Gadient, innovation and business development analyst at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, discussed the impact of electric vehicle adoption on the grid and the electrification of the transportation sector.
- Jodi Fargis, member services representative at Piedmont Electric Cooperative, participated on a panel that outlined strategies to increase the impact of weatherization and energy efficiency programs for low to moderate income members.
- Jim Musilek, vice president of innovation and business development at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, joined a panel to discuss the challenges and solutions associated with beneficial electrification and its impact on multiple sectors, including the agriculture and transportation industries.
- Charlie Farrell, manager of business strategy at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, spoke about how the cooperatives’ Connect to Save platform is supporting efforts to manage electricity demand when it is highest and most expensive.
- Erik Hall, energy services and technology director at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, both discussed how the adoption of microgrid technology can enhance resiliency and reliability for cooperative communities.
- Kara Gravinese, innovation and business development analyst at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, spoke on a panel about front-of-the-meter clean energy programs available to utility customers, including co-op members, and the impact of demand-side management programs.
- Nikki Lynberg, innovation and business development analyst at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, served on a panel that discussed the impacts of energy technologies, innovative solutions, policy and rates in the electric transportation sector.
In addition to these speakers and panelists, representatives from co-ops across the state attended the conference to learn, network and share best practices and the story of the cooperatives’ brighter future vision.
Now in its 19th year, the theme of the 2023 State Energy Conference was “connecting North Carolina’s diverse energy economy.” Sessions and discussions focused on the impacts of energy technologies, policy and finance across a number of different sectors including clean transportation, energy efficiency, innovation and technology, renewable energy and infrastructure.