The Energy Generation Conference originated in 1978 as a Power Plant Operations Conference held in conjunction with the ND Rural Electric Cooperatives’ Annual Statewide Apprenticeship Training & Safety Conference. A small group of power plant personnel planned the agenda with sessions presented by employees from local power plants and suppliers of power plant products and services.
To better accomodate the different training needs of each era, the BSC Power Plant Program Advisory Board asked if BSC could start their own training program and seperate from the ND REC's Apprenticeship Training & Safety Conference. Bismarck Junior College (now Bismarck State College) came on board to coordinate the first Annual Energy Generation Conference in 1980.
The original planning committee had eight members, and there were originally eight company sponsors. Today, there are 30 members on the planning committee, and 27 supporting companies. In addition, in 1978, there were six vendor displays at the Bismarck Holiday Inn, and in 2020, 315 vendor booths were sold, filling the Bismarck Events Center’s Exhibit Halls B-D. Over the past 30 years, the conference has grown from a local event of 100 participants into an international event attended by over 2000. Through the contributions of many, the Energy Generation Conference has surpassed the expectations of those who began it over 40 years ago.
In 2019, the planning committee made the decision to change the conference name because our region has changed and now represents more than just energy generation. There are a multitude of energy resources in our area, and our audience is seeing a shift toward those resources. The conference will still be a great opportunity to strengthen industry connections, showcase products and services, present advances and/or changes in technology and much more. The committee voted to change the conference name from the Energy Generation Conference to the Energy Progress & Innovation Conference. This change was effective as of January 30, 2020.
To keep in line with the new conference direction, we also revisited our mission statement. Moving forward, we will focus on “Energizing industry and individuals in a competitive market through education, technology, and networking.”