Energy Priorities

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NEBC Future Energy Conference 2013 Portland – promo podcast

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Denis Du Bois– For those of you in the energy industry, the Future Energy Conference is coming up in Portland on April 16th and 17th. This is the seventh year for this conference and it has become Oregon’s don’t-miss event addressing the business side of clean energy.

Among the keynote speakers are experts from the Oregon Public Utility Commission, Portland General Electric, Bonneville Power Administration — and Tuesday’s luncheon speaker is Google Energy Program Manager Sam Arons, who’s working toward Google’s goal of being carbon neutral in its data centers:

Sam Arons - Google
Sam Arons – Google

Sam Arons– “I’m excited about the keynote, I think it’s going to be really fun. I’m going to be talking about the story of how Google got to where we are today in terms of our renewable energy activities, where the need comes from, why we’re interested in renewables, why we think it makes business sense. I also want to spend a little of the time talking about data centers generally. There’s a lot that we’re doing on the efficiency side as well, I know there’s a lot of potential attendees at this conference who are interested in efficiency and we have what we believe are some of the most energy efficient data centers in the world, and I want to talk a little bit about that — what are some of the things we do to make them so efficient. Additionally I was planning to speak about what are the challenges we face in terms of siting renewables and additionally how does that play into the DC site selection that our team also does — explaining a bit how those two things interplay together.”

Denis — In addition to the keynotes there will be conference tracks on energy policy, renewables, and energy efficiency. One topic that’s sure to fill the room is human behavior. Ecova Senior Manager Virginia Ulrich is one of the panelists in the session titled “Managing Behavior”:

Virginia Ulrich - Ecova
Virginia Ulrich – Ecova

Virginia Ulrich– “I feel like our industry — the energy efficiency industry both on the utility side requiring that there be energy efficiency programs, and on the contractor side delivering the services to our utility clients and ultimately the utility end use customer — my hope is that we’re at a point in our industry’s history where behavior is an accepted way to garner energy savings.   because when you think about energy efficiency as a pie, not an edible pie but like a chart, as a circle, and you’re working from the outside heading in, it’s really easy to impact that outer layer of opportunity and it’s what we’ve been doing for the past 30 years. But to really impact in a meaningful way the hard-to-reach savings and have the long-term impact we really need to have for our environment, you rely a lot more on the behavior of people. And in order to rely on the behavior of people in a cost effective manner, we need to get a lot more intelligent about what that means.”

Denis — The Future Energy Conference is presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council as a forum for learning, networking, and business development – whether you’re in the energy industry, a policy maker, or an economic development professional. Find out more, and register, at I’m Denis Du Bois and I’ll see you in Portland the 16th and 17th of April 20-13 for the Future Energy Conference.

Energy Priorities Magazine is a media partner with Future Energy Conference organizer NEBC.

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