Blog: Moving Forward with Past Feedback

-Tanner Kenney, Fellow

Since its inception, the Advanced Energy Group has relied heavily upon its members to frame future discussions by raising concerns and recommending solutions through one of the most vital tools at AEG’s disposal – the post-event survey. These surveys are not only the key to unlocking essential resources for our stakeholder members, but a primary channel for the AEG team to explore potential discussion topics and address specific challenges that may not occur in other cities, as well.

From messages of support and gratitude to heartfelt recommendations regarding future collaboration and more, these surveys have produced myriad salient points across all AEG cities. From Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to Berlin, Boston, and Denver, widespread and pressing concerns expressed by our stakeholder members include climate change preparedness and resiliency, particularly in regards to critical infrastructure. While focused on energy-related institutions and topics, our members are worried about the impact of major storms, sea level-rise, and increasing global temperatures on vital and vulnerable institutions such as governmental buildings, hospitals, schools, universities, and more.

Participating organizations and utilities such as ComEd, ConEd, Pepco, S&C Electric, and NYU’s Center for Global Affairs have provided invaluable access to individuals and resources in regards to collaboration between the public and private sectors. Large and predictable energy consumers, such as primary and urgent care providers as well as universities, are also an ideal target for energy-hardening initiatives and have been promulgated by stakeholder members and participants such as Advocate Health Care, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Columbia University.

Battery storage is perhaps one of the fastest evolving tool working to harden the energy landscape. Companies like PowerSecure and EnerSys advocate for the installation of these chemically-varied technologies and are utilizing incentive programs such as ConEd’s Non-Wires Solutions program. But these reach into the cybersecurity sector, as well, and stakeholder member Booz Allen Hamilton has been an active and important participant at each of our Washington Advanced Energy events, addressing vulnerabilities such as phishing attacks by and non-state actors that can cause long-term power outages.

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These resiliency solutions, and more, are at great risk of failure if not implemented in a timely fashion as transportation agencies such as the CTA, MTA, WMATA, have remapped flood and weather patterns, in recent years, indicating a drastic increase in both flooding and major storm events. Our stakeholder members have told us that inter-agency and public-private cooperation will be necessary not only to address these concerns, but to generate economically viable solutions, as well.

None of these thoughts, ideas, and recommendations could have been generated without the support of both Duane Morris and Holland & Knight, two law firms that not only host AEG events, but active participants, as well. The legal support of major firms that seek to promote the advancement of grid hardening and the installation of renewable energy technologies means a great deal to our mission. We share the very same sentiment regarding support with the U.S. Green Buildings Council, as well; a multi-city stakeholder member organization vital to the promotion of energy efficiency in building construction and renovation.

The Advanced Energy Group has also expanded stakeholder member collaboration outside of its quarterly event series to include working groups that address more specific, energy-related issues in AEG cities. We are working closely with PJM Interconnection through the “D.C. 100 Hours” collaboration to identify the cost-benefit of shaving the District’s peak energy consumption whilst developing a “Triple M” working group in New York City – a concerted effort to develop Measures, Metrics, and Milestones for the real-time progress-mapping of NYC's 80X50 goals.

Lastly, cooperation need not be limited to AEG Discussion Leaders and event attendees; our diverse group of stakeholder members often collaborate on special events, as well, such as the NYECC tour of Roosevelt Island’s new Bloomberg and Cornell Tech sustainable campuses and the recent site-visit to Chicago O’Hare International Airport in conjunction with Chicago Community Trust. The opportunities for cooperation outside of event spaces are endless, and the ideas and experiences shared during meetings like this can be invaluable to all.

Moving forward, the Advanced Energy Group will continue to rely upon these survey responses for guidance, inspiration, and recommendations. Each stakeholder member and participant has the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback following every event they attend, allowing for a more open dialogue not only between AEG and its stakeholder members but among attendees, as well. We thank you for your participation in Advanced Energy Group events and look forward to our continued collaboration at the next event in your city.

We thank you for your feedback and look forward to continued collaboration.

-The Advanced Energy Group Team