Clemson to host international energy conference in Charleston

Staff Report
Published March 6, 2014

The First Conference on Local DC Electricity: Transforming the 21st Century Energy Economy will be hosted in Charleston by Clemson University and the Clemson Restoration Institute, March 30 to April 1. Experts from industry, federal labs and academia will participate.

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According to a Clemson University statement, the U.S. electricity infrastructure of generation, transmission and distribution was built over the course of a century and is experiencing dramatic change. The changes could threaten the stability, reliability, resilience, affordability and environmental impact of this vital source of energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates about 70% of electrical energy is lost in generation, transmission and distribution. Direct current electricity, locally generated by solar panels and or windmills, is expected to save 30% of this loss.

Jim Rogers, retired chairman and CEO of Duke Energy Corp., will give the keynote address in downtown Charleston. Other speakers include Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA, and Don Talka, senior vice president and chief engineer of Underwriters Laboratories.

A statement promoting the conference said that, except for a few applications, most electric loads — cell phones, laptops, refrigerators, air conditioners — operate on DC power. In commercial buildings, as much as 80% of loads are DC. Since the current electricity infrastructure in the U.S. is dominated by alternating current, there is a need to develop hybrid adaptive smart DC micro grids that will accelerate the adaptation and utilization of clean renewable energy. Other than cost savings, local DC electricity will provide reliable and resilient micro grids.

Sponsors of the conference are SCRA, Emerge Alliance, Duke Energy, StarLine DC Solutions, Argonne National Laboratory, Emerson Electric Co. and The InterTech Group.

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