Georgia Tech Hosts the Georgia Electrification Leadership Summit
Apr 24, 2023 — Atlanta, GA
The Energy Policy Innovation Center (EPICenter), along with the Beneficial Electrification League and Wells Fargo, hosted the Georgia Electrification Leadership Summit on the Georgia Tech campus. More than 140 people from the energy industry participated in the highly engaged event that included discussions on innovations and challenges in electrification in the transportation, residential, and industrial sectors. Additionally, the event addressed the economic development that the recent federal funding in the energy area is expected to bring to the state of Georgia.
The event began with a virtual welcome address by Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, followed by an introduction by Joe Hagerman, the director of EPIcenter, that operates within the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech. EPICenter was created to provide an unbiased and interdisciplinary framework for stimulating innovation in energy policy and technology for the Southeast region. Keith Dennis, founder and CEO of the Beneficial Electrification League, engaged the audience with his presentation on the benefits of electrification, followed by key energy industry leaders from the state of Georgia discussing their viewpoints on electrification opportunities in their industry. The morning keynote by Bentina Terry, senior vice president of Customer Strategy and Solutions at Georgia Power, brought focus on the everyday customer. Terry said they can be swayed with energy solutions only if the solutions providers advocate the benefits through the lens of the consumer.
The stakeholder dialogue on electric transportation included Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, who emphasized that the state of Georgia needs to focus on expanding the state’s transportation infrastructure to meet the rising EVs on Georgia roads and the urgent need for electrification in transportation. Richard Simmons, director of Research and Studies at the Strategic Energy Institute, also brought home the fact that transportation sector has caught on to the benefits of electrification more than any other sector in the country. GDOT team member in the discussion revealed the timeline of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program that has $135 million in funds apportioned to the state of Georgia.
On electrification in residential homes, panelists including Anita Moreno, Michelle Moore and Andrea Pinabell shared different perspectives and examples of the huge impact electrification has in residential homes, especially in low and moderate income and rural communities of Georgia.
The team from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, an entity that funds environmental infrastructure projects in the state, discussed the historical funding coming through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) and Inflation Reduction Act. With more than $300 million coming through the Georgia State Energy Office and most of the funding residential focused, the team discussed the challenges and consumer expectations and how they ensure projects that get funded save money and lead to client satisfaction.
Stakeholder dialogue on electrification of commercial technology included Chandra Farley, the chief sustainability officer of the City of Atlanta, who discussed decarbonization of public buildings, training the workforce, and electrification of the public fleet, while advancing the city’s goal to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. Panelists also discussed heat pumps as a cost-effective method of supplying low-temperature heat for industrial processes and the advantages of industrial heat pumps over combustion technologies for electrification and energy efficiency.
“At EPICenter, we leverage Georgia Tech’s expertise and innovation to help inform energy policy and technology for the Southeast,” said Hagerman. “The GA Electrification Leadership Summit is another example of how we have brought together diverse stakeholders to foster collaboration and dialogue on Georgia’s energy future. EPICenter will continue to support electrification, energy access, and deep community engagement. Georgia Tech and EPICenter can play an outsized role in helping the Southeast achieve a vibrant, clean, and competitive energy future for all Georgians.”
Priya Devarajan || SEI Communications Manager