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Annual N.C. Energy Conference To Be Hosted by NC State This April

Wide angle photo of ballroom full of seated attendees at the 2023 Southern Energy Conference.

Entering its 19th year, the 2024 State Energy Conference of North Carolina promises 30 sessions, four keynotes and ample networking opportunities right at NC State.

The conference, which is hosted annually by NC State’s Office of Professional Development and the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, part of the College of Engineering, is a two-day event for professionals in the energy industry. This year, it will take place on April 23 and 24 at the McKimmon Conference & Training Center on Gorman Street.

“The purpose of this event is to bring the state’s diverse energy community – renewables, gas, nuclear, transportation and power – to one place where everybody can come  together to talk,” said Steve Kalland, executive director of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. “It’s a networking event where there’s a lot of educational opportunities.”

This year, panels include discussions on the future of clean energy in North Carolina, conversations on how clean energy manufacturing is set to transform the North Carolina landscape and a live recording of Squeaky Clean Energy Podcast, focused on the path forward for distributed energy resources in North Carolina.

“Across the energy landscape, there’s this massive push for decarbonization, both at the state level and at the federal and global levels,” Kalland said. “Some of our keynotes this year are focused on how we meet the state’s legislatively-mandated 100 percent decarbonization requirement and the interim goals along the way using the technologies that are out there.”

Kalland said that some of these technologies are commercially available and ready to be deployed, while others are being planned and have yet to be commercially deployed.

“We’ve been talking about decarbonization in the context of climate change for years, but now we have consensus from the scientific community that the stakes are high if we fail and state mandates to meet that lead to the goal of zero carbon,” he continued. “We’re seeing it in what’s going on in federal policy, too. We’re seeing what’s going on with so many new incentives and programs that are rolling out.”

Guests this year will include folks from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, NC Department of Commerce, the executive director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association, industry leaders from Siemens, Pinegate Renewables, Kempower, Blue Ridge Power and TotalEnergies, Louis Martin-Vega Dean of the College of Engineering Jim Pfaendtner and more.

NC governor Roy Cooper will be giving recorded remarks to help open the event. In all, over 80 experts will speak in 30 sessions. An evening reception in the exhibit hall, sponsored by the Women’s Energy Network, will conclude the first day of the conference.

“We work with a large planning committee,” said Shannon Helm, the senior director of communications and external relations at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. “That includes corporate, industry, non-profit and academic partners.

“The conference is held at the McKimmon Center on campus and we plan it with NC State staff, but we really don’t want it to be positioned as an NC State conference,” she continued. “We include industry and policymaker partners across the board to get feedback on what we need to talk about for sessions and keynote topics and they also help with speaker selection. So it’s just a big, robust group that works on planning pretty much for an entire year.”

This year, conference organizers anticipate over 900 attendees. Degree-seeking college or graduate students are eligible for the $49 registration fee.

“One of the biggest transitions in the overall economy since the industrial revolution is underway with regard to energy,” said Kalland. “Energy touches everything. No matter what job career field focus you have, energy is going to be a relevant part of the conversation. If you want to figure out how the thing that you’re interested in fits into the world of energy, or if you want to figure out how energy fits into the thing you’re interested in, this is a good place to do it.”

Agenda At-A-Glance

Continuing Education Credits

This post was originally published in College of Engineering News.