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IDEA’s 115th Annual Conference & Trade Show Focused on District Energy for Sustainable Cities

By District Energy posted 05-23-2024 06:10

IDEA is holding its 115th annual conference in Orlando, Florida in June. The conference runs for four days starting Monday, June 17th and goes through Thursday, June 20th. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld hotel and resort.
District Energy for Sustainable Cities
This year, the conference is organized under the theme “District Energy for Sustainable Cities,” a timely topic that harkens back to district energy’s history as one of the first environmental strategies for cleaner air in cities and its key role in the energy transition of cities today.
“The IDEA Annual Conference is an opportunity for district energy leaders from around the world to come together, share best practices, learn from each other and discuss the future of the industry,” said Rob Thornton, President & CEO, IDEA. “District energy’s history has been closely tied to the rise of cities and economic growth. Now, amid the push for decarbonization, district energy systems are an important part of the strategy to help cities meet net-zero goals through a range of technologies to solve unique local energy sustainability challenges.” IDEA members from locations around the world - from Mongolia to Manhattan, Paris to St. Paul, and Dubai to Denver, are leveraging district energy systems to cut carbon emissions at city-scale, while also maintaining a reliable, resilient and efficient supply of heating, cooling and power.”
Pre-conference Workshops
Prior to the main conference, IDEA will offer one our most comprehensive pre-conference workshops yet
 As cities implement energy efficiency and carbon-accounting standards, district energy providers are actively investing, innovating, and integrating technologies to accelerate decarbonization. District Energy for Sustainable Cities, taking place Monday June 17, will explore a range of energy solutions, discuss technologies and timings while enabling critical conversations between panelists and participants. 
Topics at the workshop will include electrification, industrial heat pumps, thermal energy networks, sector-coupling, geoexchange, and carbon accounting. This workshop (and the entire IDEA conference & trade show) will provide timely, real-world expertise on multiple technologies with direct access to experienced industry partners. We encourage electric and gas utilities, policy makers and regulators with responsibility for oversight or launching a thermal energy network (TEN), to join us to learn from real-world, ‘been there, done that’ experts.
Former White House Official to Deliver Keynote Address
The annual conference, which first opened in 1909, generally attracts attendees from more than 400 cities and nearly 30 countries, and featured speakers at IDEA2024 include Brian Deese, the former director of the White House National Economic Council. Deese will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, June 18th. He was a principal architect of President Joe Biden’s agenda, including the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In his address, Deese will share his insights on the growing opportunities for district energy as a key driver of the clean energy transition. 
Opening Plenary Panels to Feature Experts and Executives from Around the World
Also on Tuesday, June 18th, attendees will hear from experts from across the district energy industry who are shaping the future of sustainable cities in the conference’s plenary panel, including IDEA Board Chair and Enwave Energy Corporation CEO Carlyle Coutinho. Members of this panel include Earl Collins, CEO, Cordia; Carlyle Coutinho, IDEA Board Chair and CEO, Enwave Energy Corporation; Luke Gaalswyk, CEO, Ever-Green Energy; Kevin Hagerty, President & Deputy CEO, Vicinity Energy; Christina Ho, Vice President, Strategic Planning, Consolidated Edison of NY, Inc.; Eric Miller, CEO, CenTrio and Lisa Sparrow, CEO, Corix. These executives are leading district energy systems in over 60 cities and campuses across North America and will share their vast experience in, and knowledge of, investment and technology strategies, emerging policy drivers and how they are innovating to meet increasing customer demand. 
“In order to make cities more sustainable, as an industry we need to think about energy holistically, taking both thermal and electrical energy into account” said Coutinho. “District energy is a vehicle that enables cities to build out energy solutions in the most sustainable and responsible way, while also employing bigger and better solutions at a community scale.”
A second plenary panel will feature experts from around the globe, including the Middle East, Latin America and the European Union. In Germany, for instance, cities with a population of over 20,000 are required to evaluate district energy options to reduce emissions from heating and cooling of buildings.  In the European Union, the new Energy Directive calls for EU member states to also embrace district energy for decarbonization. In the Middle East, especially in high growth cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, district cooling has become the standard to cut electricity demand, conserve water and decrease emissions. And across Latin America, district energy deployment will foster economic growth coupled with environmental objectives.
Technical Program & Technical Tours
The conference technical program, which includes tracks on large heat pumps and energy recovery technologies, smarter cities and resilient energy infrastructure, district cooling and thermal energy storage, maximizing resiliency with microgrids, water conservation and optimization strategies and utilizing wastewater, will be held over two days – Tuesday, June 18th and Wednesday, June 19th.
The conference wraps up on Thursday, June 20th with technical tours of two plants operated by The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) – the Downtown North Plant, which is one of three plants that feeds the downtown Orland chilled water loop, and the Universal Plant, which feeds Universal Studios Orlando’s newest park with 20,000 tons capacity. 
See you in Orlando!
There is much more to explore, and more opportunities to learn and connect at IDEA2024, as district energy professionals from around the world gather to share insight and best practices in Orlando. Go to the IDEA2024 page on the IDEA site for all the latest details, including information on how to register. We hope to see you in Orlando!