I just returned from Itron’s 13th Annual Energy Forecasting Meeting & Training, which took place in Baltimore on May 6 and 7, 2015.  A total of 57 attendees participated from 42 companies.  For the two days, Baltimore treated us with outstanding hospitality and a beauty hidden from recent media reports.

The 14 presentations and two roundtable sessions offered many issues to consider, including economic and growth trends, changing and future efficiency standards, photovoltaic impacts, alternative economic drivers, peak forecasting methods, weather normalization with extreme weather modeling techniques, and forecast process management.  There were so many issues, that I’m still thinking about a few of them.
Instead of recapping all the presentations, I am highlighting a few things I learned this past week.

  • Richard Lynch, manager of sales and forecasting at Entergy Corp., I learned that going to my “Happy Place” is a reasonable way to deal with the significant risks facing the economy.  If this is too cryptic, I’ll explain.  Richard covered the unintended consequences of Quantitative Easing (QE) as it relates to past and future growth.  The presentation highlighted the past impacts of QE on housing, jobs and GDP growth as well as highlighted the ongoing major threats to the economy.  While there is reason to be optimistic, uncertainty abounds, and if you can’t handle the uncertainty, you can always hide in a “Happy Place.”
  • Erin Boedecker and Kevin Jarzomski from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presented the key assumptions behind the 2015 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).  The assumptions included changes in energy efficiency modeling from the 2014 AEO.  This presentation was followed by John Cymbalsky, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), explaining the energy efficiency standard adoption process.  Between the EIA assumptions and DOE future standards, I’m certain that the downward trend in average use will continue.
  • Finally, I appreciated the candid discussion of the difficulties in forecasting and model analysis from CPS Energy’s Matt Croucher, Entergy’s Rae Anne Dodd and the New York Independent System Operator’s Arvind Jaggi.  These presenters highlighted potential sources of new data, the challenge of weather normalizing extreme data and potential new model drivers.  I plan on exploring these ideas as I work with individual clients in the coming year.

As I mentioned before, there were numerous other presentations and issues from this past week.  When you get a chance, submit a comment to this blog and tell us something you learned.  In the meantime, I’ll be in my happy place – San Diego.


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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.