Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2014) — In recognition of their distinguished leadership, innovation, and progress in advancing the electric power industry, four U.S. and three international electric companies have been named as finalists for the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) 2014 Edison Award, the electric power industry’s most prestigious honor.
A committee of energy trade publication editors has selected AES Corporation, Otter Tail Power Company, Southern Company, and Westar Energy for this year’s U.S. Edison Award, while AES Tietê, Hydro One Networks, Inc., and Korea Southern Power Corporation Limited were nominated for the International Edison Award.
EEI President Tom Kuhn praised the contributions of the finalists, saying, “All of these companies exemplify the electric power industry’s commitment to providing safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity. This year’s Edison Award finalists truly demonstrate the industry’s most outstanding efforts with their innovative technologies, programs, and projects that will help shape the future of the industry.”
The 87th annual Edison Award will be presented on June 9 during the EEI Annual Convention in Las Vegas. A panel of former electric company chief executives will select the winning U.S. and international companies.
Descriptions of the finalists’ efforts are as follows:
U.S. Edison Award Finalists
AES Corporation — AES Corporation continued its mission to improve electric customers’ lives with innovative energy solutions in 2013 by expanding its battery-based grid resources to more than 100 megawatts (MW), making it the largest battery fleet in commercial service in the United States. AES’s battery facilities in Ohio and West Virginia provide grid stability services to PJM Interconnection across 13 states and Washington, D.C., and have delivered more than $20 million in benefits to PJM and ratepayers. AES developed and patented a fast-response control system to optimize the dispatch of these battery-based energy storage arrays, optimizing performance and efficiency for customers.
Otter Tail Power Company — Seeking to ensure continued reliable and affordable service, Otter Tail Power Company successfully completed the Bemidji-Grand Rapids 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line project that runs 70 miles through northern Minnesota. Otter Tail demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment, innovation, and safety while overcoming obstacles during the construction of the transmission line that is routed through an area known for substantial eagle nesting activity. The line provided needed transmission capacity to support new generation, including renewable energy. The line is one of six projects by CapX2020, which is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin formed to upgrade and expand the electric transmission grid.
Southern Company — Southern Company’s subsidiary, Georgia Power, completed a first-of-its-kind Water Research Center in 2013. The center is focused on finding new ways for the electric power industry to reduce, conserve, and improve the quality of water returned to the environment from power plants. Water is an essential component in electricity generation, and Georgia Power’s state-of-the-art Water Research Center will provide a site for testing technologies to address water withdrawal and consumption, as well as explore ways to recycle or improve the quality of any water returned to the environment. The center is expected to yield industry-wide insights that will help electricity generators around the world.
Westar Energy — Westar Energy completed the experimental phase of an innovative biological process to treat waste water from coal-fired power plants in order to replace other costly engineered solutions. As part of improvements to Westar Energy’s coal-fired generating facility, the Jeffrey Energy Center (JEC), the company rebuilt and upgraded each of the Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) systems on the units. Westar sought a natural and less costly way to remove pollutants from the FGD process to ensure the water discharged from JEC met high environmental standards. Its research and experimentation confirmed positive results that led to engineering and constructing a full-scale wetlands solution, while avoiding higher-cost solutions.
International Edison Award Finalists
AES Tietê — After facing diverse operational challenges, the third largest privately owned generation company in Brazil, AES Tietê, successfully completed the implementation of a three-year Asset Management System (AMS) program in 2013. Equipment wear out, lack of processes, and new, strict regulations had created challenges that AES Tietê overcame with its AMS program. The AMS allowed the company to significantly improve its operational and financial results as well as to become one of the most efficient generation companies in Brazil.
Hydro One Networks Inc. — Hydro One Networks, which supplies electricity across Ontario to approximately 1.3 million customers, introduced insulator washing on live 500-kV transmission lines in 2012 and 2013. Washing the 23 hardened glass insulator skirts in each 500-kV tower protects the insulators from the harsh Canadian winters and from harmful contaminants, while increasing insulator life and enhancing reliability. The washing of live insulators has greatly lowered costs for the utility, reduced the number of planned outages, and increased its productivity. Since Hydro One Networks’ transmission lines connect to the North American grid, the grid’s system security and reliability have improved with the introduction of this program.
Korea Southern Power Corporation Limited (KOSPO) — Korea Southern Power Corporation Limited made a number of ground-breaking improvements to advance efficiency, reliability, and its organizational culture and to fulfill its social responsibility. KOSPO completed the construction of its first wind farm, greatly expanded the range and rank of combustible fuels at its Samcheok Green CFBC power plant, and constructed the world’s largest and first dry process 10 MW greenhouse gas capture facility in 2013.