Two pre-conference classes. Three conference days. Eighteen industry presentations. Forty-nine companies. Sixty-nine attendees.

These are the numbers from Itron’s 17th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting held in Boston, April 2 – 5. While the numbers suggest that this is the largest gathering of electric and gas forecasters in North America, the meeting was more than just numbers.

Throughout the week, participants discussed economic issues, climate trends, energy storage challenges, financial analytics, applications of AMI data, distributed energy resource forecasting and a host of other forecasting problems. Among my favorite discussions were the following.

  • Ryan Sweet (Moody’s Analytics): While challenging the notion of a 2020 recession, Ryan presented a range of economic indicators and how they capture the overall health of the economy.
  • Erin Boedecker (Energy Information Administration): Erin updated us on the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) and illustrated the impact of including the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) into the forecast.
  • Bob Smerbeck (Accuweather): Bob introduced us to “teleconnections”. For those who missed it, teleconnections are climate signals that influence the jet stream, temperature and precipitation patterns throughout the world. Bob showed how the 2013 blob (yes, it’s a technical weather term) mixed with multiple climate signals (teleconnections) created unusual weather patterns over the subsequent years.

While the presentations started the conversations, some of the best interactions occurred over a bowl of clam chowder, walking the historic streets of Boston and arguing over the best cannoli. These moments allowed forecasters to discussion ideas, gain insights and find solutions to their everyday problems.

As Meghan Figalora from Eversource said, “I had a phenomenal time! I intend to harass my manager biweekly to make sure he lets me go next year”.

So, mark your calendars and begin harassing your managers — the 18th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting is scheduled for April 22 – 24, 2020 in New Orleans. And be sure to tune in for our next blog where Rich Simons will provide thoughts on P-Values.

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Mark Quan
Principal Forecast Consultant - Itron
Mark Quan is a Principal Forecast Consultant with Itron’s Forecasting Division. Since joining Itron in 1997, Quan has specialized in both short-term and long-term energy forecasting solutions as well as load research projects. Quan has developed and implemented several automated forecasting systems to predict next day system demand, load profiles, and retail consumption for companies throughout the United States and Canada. Short-term forecasting solutions include systems for the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Long-term forecasting solutions include developing and supporting the long-term forecasts of sales and customers for clients such as Dairyland Power and Omaha Public Power District. These forecasts include end-use information and demand-side management impacts in an econometric framework. Finally, Quan has been involved in implementing Load Research systems such as at Snohomish PUD. Prior to joining Itron, Quan worked in the gas, electric, and corporate functions at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), where he was involved in industry restructuring, electric planning, and natural gas planning. Quan received an M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford University and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles.