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Making Clean Energy a 'Virtual' Reality

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SCE debuts innovative VR technology to promote electrification at this year’s World Ag Expo.

Northampton, MA --News Direct-- Edison International

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF PATTY FLORES
PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF PATTY FLORES

By Gabriela Ornelas, Energized by Edison Writer

After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, walking among more than a thousand exhibits at the World Ag Expo was a long-awaited return to community interaction for Joel and Ethan Munoz.

This year, the annual three-day event at Tulare’s International Agri-Center returned to an in-person format. The industry’s largest trade show brings together an average of 100,000 agricultural businesses and enthusiasts worldwide to get a first look at the newest technologies, equipment and techniques.

“Every year, I take the day, and I take my son, and we play hooky to attend the Expo,” said Joel Munoz, director of operations at Pixley Union Elementary School District. “I like looking at all the new equipment that’s coming out, the new tech, anything that’s facilities related that can help the [school district] be a little more energy efficient.”

Southern California Edison has been a sponsor and exhibitor for more than 30 years. Visitors to the expo engaged in activities that focused on SCE’s public safety measures, vegetation management, business and residential customer programs and services, and the move toward electrification through its Charge Ready programs and Pathway 2045 goals.

“The World Ag Expo is a key event in the community, and it allows us to engage with our business customers and those we haven’t connected with before,” said Mike Marelli, vice president of SCE’s Business Customer Division. “Raising awareness about the services and programs we offer to the farming community not only supports their business projects but helps advance our clean energy goals in the Central Valley and beyond.”

To help visitors interact with clean energy in a new way, SCE debuted its “Clean Energy Smart Home,” a virtual reality journey brought to life with an Oculus headset and hand-held controllers. During the 20-minute activity, visitors are guided through a virtual home and tasked with making it more energy efficient, including sealing air leaks, switching to electric vehicles and induction cooking. The goal of the experience is to empower community members with the knowledge and tools to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their energy savings.

The virtual reality exhibit will soon be available online and on a mobile app. But for some, the appeal of in-person, interactive activities and speaking one-on-one with representatives is what makes the expo irreplaceable.

“The public works department relies on SCE for almost all of its energy needs, so I always make a point to visit the SCE booth,” said Tim Doyle, assistant director of Tulare’s Public Works Department. “It was nice talking to those at SCE that I have gotten to know over the years and having them reach out for an appointment to review accounts, talk about potential saving opportunities and rebates, which I look forward to.”

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View source version on newsdirect.com: https://newsdirect.com/news/making-clean-energy-a-virtual-reality-525618981