05/12/2021 | News release | Archived content
Truth be told, I would rather be in New Orleans eating beignets and discussing issues with the best forecasters in the world than sitting at my desk for a web conference. But COVID-19 has changed our world (at least for now). So instead of being together in New Orleans, Itron held its annual Energy Forecasting Group Meeting virtually from April 21 through April 23.
This year's meeting consisted of five sessions focused on today's key forecasting issues including COVID-19 (who would have guessed?), electric vehicles, long term forecasting trends and the state of the economy. The sessions are listed below.
At the top of everyone's mind was the past, present and future impacts of COVID-19. The past and present were covered in the COVID-19 Effects Panel Discussion. In this session, four utilities shared their experience with COVID-19's energy impact, using models to understand the effects and how to model the effects. The near-term future was captured in the Economic Outlook session which showed the economic recovery variability based on health care policy, federal fiscal support and pent-up demand. Finally, the long-term future was presented in the EIA Residential and Commercial Updates session which captured energy policy and end-use information trends.
While there is no debate on whether COVID-19 has had an impact, there is much debate on near-term and long-term impacts. When will the economy return to 'normal'? Has the pandemic created structural changes to our economy? If so, will these changes impact our energy consumption? While this year's conference provided insights into these questions, we (as forecasters) will closely monitor the situation throughout the year. While the meeting itself has already passed, if you register you can still receive a summary of this year's conference and gain access to the recordings at https://cvent.me/BQrGba.
Finally, I look forward to sitting in New Orleans, eating beignets and discussing these issues with you on April 13-15, 2022.