The Electrify Indiana 2022 conference was held Sept. 22 in Indianapolis. It was co-hosted by Hoosier Energy and Wabash Valley Power Alliance along with the Beneficial Electrification League.
What got the over 270 attendees, 33 sponsors and 23 exhibitors buzzing was the interaction.
With utilities, businesses and industry leaders all gathered under the same roof, the opportunities for such interaction were almost endless. Most of all, the discussions were highly productive.
“Face to face is still good, not just a Zoom or Teams meeting,” said Norm Campbell, an Electrify Indiana panelist and federal team manager for Go Electric, headquartered in Anderson. “The information and the crosstalk were excellent. I made several good connections that I think are going to be very fruitful in the big picture, not just from a business perspective but helping move solutions in the right direction.
“In my opinion, you need to have utilities engaged and involved because it’s their distribution system that gets impacted even if you work behind the meter,” Campbell continued. “There’s a lot of mutual benefit to having customers and utilities understand what each other can do.”
The vendors on hand, ranging from California-based Camus Energy and Enel X Way to familiar national brands like Milwaukee, Altec and Generac to the homegrown three-person staff of Hoosiers For Renewables, helped facilitate even more understanding.
“It’s been interesting to hear the perspective from the vendor side,” said Tom Castle of East Kentucky Power Cooperative. “For example, the guys from Rheem talked about how 70 percent of product recommendations come from the contractor. That actually makes sense and makes me wonder if we should work more with the contractors rather than pushing (products) ourselves.”
Communication went both ways, as the vendors also benefited.
“There’s a different feel with those bigger shows, just standing at a booth all day,” said Bianca Jimenez of Enel X Way. “Here you get to know people and interact more.”
Added Steven Brisley of Camus Energy: “It feels more like a family reunion than a trade show.”
It was a reunion that sent everyone home with optimism for the future.
“The connectivity between utilities, end users, policy makers and people that are in the business space was great,” Campbell said. “… (Electrify Indiana) brought a connectivity to some of us in the industry we didn’t have before. I’m looking forward to reaching out and offering some of our ideas to make (improvements) even better and faster.”