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Energy industry leaders gathered at the Henry Bellmon Research Center on the Oklahoma State University campus March 17 for the official launch of the National Energy Solutions Institute – Smart Energy Source Association (NESI-SES Association), a membership organization consisting of utilities and energy-related organizations from across the nation dedicated to finding solutions for the energy industry. The collaboration, unique in its nature, is on the forefront of leading the energy industry in progressive research and relevant solutions.
“The National Energy Solutions Institute and SES partnership is, I think, going to transform how we do business in Oklahoma,” said OSU president Burns Hargis, “and frankly, I think it will make our energy industry even more efficient and more effective.”
New members of the association were recognized including the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, Guernsey, Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Central Rural Electric Cooperative and half a million dollar contributor CoBank.
CoBank is a Colorado-based bank that focuses exclusively on serving vital industries in rural America, a member of the Farm Credit System and serves as the funding bank for Farm Credit associations. CoBank CEO Bob Engel addressed energy leaders and described the importance reliable, affordable energy brings to the rural industries CoBank serves.
“It really is vital that the U.S. maintain its leadership position across the entire spectrum of energy,” Engel said. “We are really confident that the work that is going be produced by the NESI-SES association in the coming years really will help us to achieve that broader goal.”
It is a broader goal that is based on three key principles – collaboration, collective intelligence and business analytics. David Swank, NESI-SES Association and CREC CEO, said collaboration is the key to discovering solutions.
“Our research can be far better if we bring together collective information,” Swank said. “The better the information, the better the research.”
NESI director Dr. Stephen McKeever said his organization’s goal is to attempt to answer questions in energy today. He agreed collaboration is the most important aspect in finding new and better answers.
“We have to work in collaboration,” McKeever said. “The key is to not work in isolation. In order to provide solutions to the industry, we need the industry to be working with us to tell us what those issues are and to lead us to the right solutions.”
Currently, the NESI-SES Association is working with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on a distributed energy resources/microgrid study and a new way of system planning for utilities and oil and gas producers called the Capacity Infrastructure Model. The building of an Energy Research Operations Center on OSU’s campus was also announced and construction is expected to be complete later this spring.
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