AI's impact is Front and Center at EEI Annual Meeting in Las Vegas

Conversations about grid reliability and the impact of AI on the electric grid dominated this year's EEI Annual Meeting.

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Rhizome
July 1, 2024
Rhizome's Booth at EEI 24' Las Vegas

The EEI '24 in Las Vegas was a powerhouse of energy insights, and we left with many insightful conversations and ideas to drive us forward into the rest of the year. If there were two topics everyone was talking about, they were reliability and AI. From FERC Chairman Willie Phillips' rallying cry about keeping "the main thing, the main thing," to the final breakout session on regulatory perspectives, the message was clear: keeping the lights on is priority number one.

One of the standout moments for us was hearing from Shinjini Menon, Southern California Edison's Senior Vice President of System Planning & Engineering. She spoke our language loud and clear when she talked about the importance of starting resiliency planning early and always keeping the customer in mind. It was like she took a page right out of Rhizome's playbook! She also pointed out the importance of not over-relying on Performance Incentive Mechanisms (PIMs), as they usually cannot capture the full performance picture. Instead, utilities should really think through the metrics that work in their particular use cases and consider other tools that may help their performance.

Another highlight of the conference was the keynote from NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang. He emphasized the importance of the electric grid and named utilities as central players in the next industrial revolution driven by AI and accelerated computing. "Like other companies, utilities will apply AI to increase employee productivity, but the greatest impact and return is in applying AI in the delivery of energy over the grid," said Huang, in conversation with Pedro Pizarro, the chair of EEI and president and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. Not only does AI play a crucial role in providing affordable, reliable energy for all, but the energy grid will uniquely support and become a foundation for AI in return. The whole event was a testament to why forward-thinking and a customer-first mindset are key.

For us at Rhizome, this means doubling down on our mission to help utilities plan smarter and more effectively. We're all about making sure AI-driven resiliency efforts translate into real, tangible benefits for customers, just as Shinjini emphasized. In a nutshell, the EEI '24 was a big reminder of the vital role that innovation and strategic planning play in the energy sector. As the industry gears up for the future, tools like Rhizome are set to be game-changers, helping utilities stay ahead of the curve and keep reliability at the heart of their operations.

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