This award recognizes organizations, project teams and/or individuals who have demonstrated unique leadership in efforts to advance DEI principles and programs - either at their own organizations or with their customers.
Leyline Renewable Capital - Addressing Racism Working Group
In 2020, Leyline Renewable Capital employees created the Leyline Addressing Racism (LAR) Working Group to expand diversity and address inequity in the renewable energy industry and broader society. LAR identified three focus areas - education, employment and finance. In the education focus area, Leyline is introducing renewable energy as a knowledge area and career option to people of color through active skill-sharing at important points along their educational path. In early 2021, the LAR working group established the Renewable Energy Externship at Leyline (REEAL) program, a 27'�week rotational internship, and posted the opportunity at HBCUs. Leyline also recently completed a full revision of its hiring policy, with a focus on the integration of best Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) practices. Leyline is building contacts and partnerships with nonprofits and financing peers to identify projects in lower-income communities that promote equitable access to renewable energy. Leyline will utilize its skills to simplify project financing, streamline the development process and overcome execution hurdles to help these communities and their nonprofit partners develop projects in their neighborhoods.
Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, New York Power Authority
Since her appointment last fall, Nancy has moved the largest state public power organization in the nation forward toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. She is responsible for designing and implementing initiatives to ignite and rejuvenate diversity, equity and inclusion at NYPA. Under Nancy's leadership, NYPA was the first public power utility to launch a comprehensive DEI plan. This industry-leading plan will expand customer energy products and services in underserved and environmental justice communities to help customers lower utility costs and meet their environmental and sustainability goals in alignment with Governor Cuomo's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Seattle City Light - Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan
The Seattle City Light Transportation Electrification team is leading the charge in making strategic long-term investments in transportation electrification hand-in-hand with the environmental justice communities that they serve. To ensure meaningful inclusion, the team leveraged the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Toolkit and conducted comprehensive outreach to environmental justice community leaders - meeting with 25 such groups - and analysis of existing information on environmental justice communities' transportation electrification wants and needs.
This award recognizes an individual who, while working in the energy industry, has demonstrated leadership and innovation to significantly accelerate the transformation to a clean and modern energy system. The individual's 'body of work' can span a longer period of time, but should include activity and accomplishments during the nomination period.
Energy Innovation & Resources Officer, Seattle City Light
Emeka has led efforts at Seattle City Light to evolve the utility as it pivots to equitably meet customer and community needs and expectations in the new energy marketplace. Emeka has overseen the implementation of a new Transportation Electrification Strategic Investment Plan, development of City Light's long-term Grid Modernization Roadmap, the creation of a portfolio of ambitious job-creating projects to leverage Federal stimulus funds, and Seattle City Light's successful entry into the Energy Imbalance Market. Emeka is a visionary utility leader who has doubled down on the energy transition, allowing Seattle City Light and its partners to lead investments in electrification, decarbonization, grid modernization, market innovations and utility technology with a primary focus on equity.
President & CEO, Portland General Electric
Under Maria's leadership, Portland General Electric has made exciting strides for the integration of high levels of renewable energy to meet the needs of their community. Beyond the renewable projects in motion, Maria is leading exciting efforts to adjust their operations for modern capabilities, including scaling demand-side management programs, leveraging various smart grid projects and leading the industry in determining critical resiliency capabilities from microgrids at critical facilities to wildfire mitigation strategies. Maria is working tirelessly to transition the capabilities and culture at Portland General Electric to meet the challenges of a clean and modern energy provider.
This IOU demonstrates industry leadership through unique innovation in an effort to significantly accelerate the transformation to a clean and modern energy system.
Avista has a goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, and to have a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by the end of 2027. Avista is developing an energy operating system called the Open-Source Distributed System Platform (OpenDSP) that can be distributed, centralized or both (hybrid). It supports grid-edge computing; will be scalable, easy to extend and flexible; and will provide the opportunity to achieve true interoperability and interchangeability. Avista is also working on strategies to leverage real-time AMI data, pathways to accelerate community electric transportation, real-time building to grid optimization and more.
Consumers Energy's Clean Energy Plan is an industry-leading, 20-year strategic roadmap to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. The plan will end coal as a fuel source for electricity, dramatically boost clean energy resources and optimize demand by reducing usage and waste. Consumers Energy plans to support employees and communities affected by early coal plant retirements by finding new roles for workers who want to stay, fulfilling environmental responsibilities at the sites and helping local leaders pursue new economic possibilities. In addition, Consumers Energy is offering customers innovative energy efficiency and demand response programs, creating statewide infrastructure for electric vehicles and supplying more electricity from clean, renewable sources.
Tampa Electric Company
Tampa Electric Company (TECO) is making a transformational investment in new customer experience and operational programs with supporting projects that include advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), data analytics, advanced distribution management, work management, distributed intelligence, asset management, Volt/VAR optimization, smart streetlights and smart cities applications. Built on Itron's Industrial IoT (IIoT) network, TECO will leverage its network to support AMI for electricity, smart streetlights and ultimately other advanced applications such as grid management, distribution automation, solar generation and EV integration that require the ability to access granular data and dynamic power flows.
This Public Power Utility demonstrates industry leadership through unique innovation in an effort to significantly accelerate the transformation to a clean and modern energy system.
Douglas County PUD
Douglas County PUD recently broke ground on a 5 MW electrolyzer at their Wells Hydroelectric Dam to create renewable hydrogen from hydropower. The utility-owned pilot project will provide flexibility to Douglas PUD operations and reduce the mechanical adjustments and maintenance necessary at the Wells Hydroelectric Project to balance the grid. Together with the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance, Douglas County PUD has also advocated for other public utility districts in WA to produce and sell renewable hydrogen.
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
LADWP has set aggressive goals of 80% renewable energy and 97% carbon-free power by 2030; and 100% carbon-free by 2035. LADWP recently signed onto the Eland Solar Storage project, a 400 MW solar, and 300 MW - 4 hour battery system, one of the largest and cheapest solar plus storage hybrid projects in the U.S. LADWP has spearheaded an effort to expand the existing Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program by an additional 300 MW, increasing the program total to 450 MW. LADWP recently launched the FiT+ Pilot program to provide non-wire alternative solutions in key regions of Los Angeles. LADWP has also developed the Green Access Program that allows large customers to obtain bulk renewable energy resources. Through arrangements with large-scale renewable power purchase agreements that LADWP has acquired, customers like UCLA can claim a higher renewable portfolio mix and meet their mandates.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
In July 2020, the SMUD Board of Directors declared a climate emergency and adopted a resolution calling for SMUD to take significant and consequential actions to become carbon neutral (net-zero carbon) by 2030. In response, SMUD published its 2030 Zero Carbon Plan - a flexible roadmap to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030. The plan focuses on four main areas: Natural gas generation repurposing, proven clean technologies, new technologies and business models, and financial impact and options by limiting rate increases to the rate of inflation.
This Electric Cooperative demonstrates industry leadership through unique innovation in an effort to significantly accelerate the transformation to a clean and modern energy system.
Cobb Electric Membership Corporation
Cobb EMC recently announced their clean energy goals to reduce carbon emissions by 75% and double their renewable energy portfolio with a 200% increase, all by 2030. As a part of their commitment to a cleaner energy future, Cobb EMC was the first utility in the nation to install a battery storage system on their campus to help power their operations. Cobb EMC is also one of the few cooperatives in the nation that's incorporating microgrid technology. Cobb EMC has worked to educate consumers about EVs through a multi-phase strategy, including EV seminars, EV experience events, electrifying some of their company fleet, an '�EV Experience'� Checkout program where consumers can '�check out'� electric fleet vehicles overnight or over the weekend to see how EVs could fit their lifestyles, and a dedicated consumer-facing website offering EV information.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is unique in the world in achieving 100% renewable on nearly a daily basis. Recent achievements include a new 14 MW solar-plus-storage project on the grounds of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility. This project, built and operated by AES, can be '�islanded'� if necessary to ensure stable and continuous power supply to the Navy base. In December 2020 KIUC filed a power purchase agreement with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for the West Kauai Energy Project (WKEP), an innovative pumped storage hydro facility powered with solar. WKEP will also deliver significant community benefits, including the rehabilitation of three former plantation reservoirs and the accompanying ditch system, enabling irrigation water to be delivered to hundreds of acres of currently fallow agricultural lands. KIUC's transition to renewables has resulted in more stable and lower rates, as members are increasingly buffered from the financial impacts of volatile oil pricing and benefit from a majority of their power being supplied via long-term power purchase agreements that are competitively- or lower-priced compared to fossil fuel.
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative
SMECO has advanced several initiatives focused on environmental stewardship and community inclusion, such as ongoing participation in EmPOWER Maryland, utilizing AMI, promoting the Members Helping Members initiative and deploying technology-focused pilot programs. In 2020, SMECO concluded its residential Smart Home Pilot to explore the unique relationship between electric customers, their utility and smart home products. Throughout the Pilot, SMECO introduced custom home automation tips such as recommended smart lighting schedules and smart thermostat settings. The cooperative also launched the SMECO Assistant, a voice skill on the Amazon Alexa platform. Bridging SMECO's AMI with the Smart Home pilot, SMECO launched its My Energy Target program as a standalone residential offering in 2021 to over 17,000 customer-members, which offered custom energy reduction targets to each participant in exchange for an incentive check. In 2021, SMECO received regulatory approval to launch a Bring Your Own Device Demand Response Program, a Schools and Education Program and a first in the industry rewards-based pilot.
This award recognizes organizations, project teams and/or individuals who have demonstrated unique innovation and leadership in efforts to facilitate sustainable utility business models and the state regulatory processes needed to achieve a carbon-free energy future.
Duke Energy & Sunrun - South Carolina Net Energy Metering Stakeholder Process
Duke Energy and Sunrun led a year-long stakeholder process to achieve a breakthrough agreement on Net Energy Metering in South Carolina, ultimately including 10 different organizations. The initiative established a new model for customer-sited DER policies with three key components: 1) proactive collaboration and stakeholder engagement, 2) sophisticated rate design using industry best practices, and 3) pairing solar with DSM/EE to create well-rounded system benefits. Breaking from the norm, the utility, solar industry and other stakeholders engaged almost a year ahead of the proceeding to enable enough time for complex, back-and-forth negotiations that created a solution that worked for all parties.
New York Power Authority - DER Advisory Services Team
Comprised of 5 individuals who partner with nonprofit universities, hospitals, local government and state agencies across New York State to assess the potential for on-site solar and storage, NYPA's DER Advisory Services Team is driving some of the most ambitious DER projects in New York State including the Javits Center (1.4 MW PV, 2 MW storage), JFK Airport (13 MW PV, 75 MW storage), NYC schools, and White Plains. By acting as an owners representative, NYPA is qualifying sites for DER development, then soliciting bids from the market to do the build-out and operations and maintenance, and negotiating favorable pricing for customers. The new Advisory Services model allows customers to get a trusted partner to evaluate sites and recommend if DERs are worth pursuing. Beyond ensuring that DERs are built out where they make the most sense, this model also supports the DER developer market by cutting their business development costs by 30-50%.
Tampa Electric & Emera Technologies - BlockEnergy
BlockEnergy, developed by Emera Technologies, is a scalable, neighborhood-level microgrid that gives utilities a rate-based alternative to centralized generation. This allows utilities to participate in the distributed market by building state-of-the-art rate-based assets with flexible technology and embedded intelligence that better match a neighborhood's energy requirements and integrate seamlessly into the existing grid. In a BlockEnergy microgrid, homes are sited with rooftop solar and a BlockBox containing battery storage and power electronics connecting it to the neighborhood distribution network. The BlockBoxes communicate with each other and share energy as needed within the system. The system also incorporates a central energy park that contains supplemental batteries, optional additional generation, smart protection architecture and a connection to the local utility power grid. The Florida PSC recently approved a four-year pilot project for the Tampa Electric Company to demonstrate the BlockEnergy system in 37 homes in Hillsborough County, Florida. TECO will provide annual reports to the PSC on the pilot's successes and failures.
This award recognizes organizations, project teams and/or individuals who have demonstrated unique innovation and leadership in efforts to integrate clean energy and distributed energy resources (DERs) into the grid to help achieve carbon reduction and clean energy goals, and meet the needs of their electricity consumers.
Green Mountain Power - DER Programs
Green Mountain Power has pioneered several groundbreaking DER programs, including the first utility-managed residential storage aggregation that has provided thousands of hours of backup power and saved customers over $3M, an electric vehicle charging program with over 1,000 vehicles under management, a smart panel pilot in partnership with Span, and a solar+storage microgrid capable of backing up a portion of a distribution feeder. They also recently became the first utility to provide frequency regulation through an aggregated battery fleet.
Hawaiian Electric - Customer Energy Resources Strategy & Quick Connect Program
Throughout 2020, Hawaiian Electric intensified regular meetings and close work with the solar industry and regulators to remove obstacles to more rooftop solar, including by cutting the time from application to activation of new systems. Among many changes, Hawaiian Electric launched the Quick Connect program, which allows customers installing new rooftop solar systems to install and energize systems on most circuits without waiting for the standard approvals, which can be applied for later. In early 2021, Hawaiian Electric also published - and sought customer and stakeholder input on - its '�Customer Energy Resources for Hawaii; A Customer-First CER Strategy for a 100% Clean Energy Future,'� describing the strategy to increase rooftop solar and similar customer energy resources to the scale needed to reach the state's clean energy benchmarks.
PNM & Clean Power Research - DER Interconnection Program
Through the deployment of PowerClerk, a software-as-a-service, cloud-based solution from Clean Power Research (CPR), PNM realized a significant reduction in application backlogs for their customers and applicants, and greatly improved transparency and reporting on application status. Working with the CPR Professional Services team, PNM developed and deployed a number of enhancements to their interconnection portal, including a Solar Capacity Map to provide applicants with easy-to-understand information on available capacity for new projects at specific locations.
This award recognizes organizations, project teams and/or individuals who have demonstrated unique innovation and leadership in efforts to advance electrification in the electric utility domain, especially vehicle-grid-integration (VGI) or building electrification efforts.
DTE Energy - Bring Your Own Charger¬Æ Program
DTE Energy launched the Bring Your Own Charger¬Æ (BYOC) program to fill in the gaps of its existing EV programs and reach as many EV drivers as possible while reducing program costs. BYOC leverages DTE's advanced meter infrastructure to monitor customer charging behavior, identify unknown EVs in the residential meter base, and ensure EV load occurs off-peak. Because BYOC is vehicle and charging equipment agnostic, and because it does not require any load control hardware, any EV driver with a Level 2 charger is eligible to enroll. EV drivers use their EV's onboard charging timer to schedule their EV to charge overnight, take a photo of the schedule, and complete a 10-minute application. In exchange for charging off-peak, drivers receive an incentive worth 2,100 miles of free driving each year. From program launch in mid-July 2020 through the end of March 2021, enrolled drivers have accumulated over 65,000 hours of charging, at more than 90% off-peak hours.
Ecotope - Central Heat Pump Water Heaters
For the past ten years, Ecotope has led the effort - along with the Bonneville Power Administration, water heater manufacturers, and building industry experts - to design, specify, test, and launch demonstration Central Heat Pump Water Heaters (CHPWH) projects. CHPWHs are key to bringing energy efficiency to renters, low-income housing, and other public spaces. By involving experts and practitioners from government, utilities, manufacturing, building management, and engineering, Ecotope ensured there would be market demand and a policy framework ready for the technology, as well as a core group of committed stakeholders with an interest in future success.
Orange & Rockland - '�Charge Clean, Drive Clean'� Initiative
In 2020, Orange & Rockland partnered with Uplight and Enel X to empower customers to charge their EVs during the times of cleanest power generation. In the Charge Smart Program, customers purchase a JuiceBox EV charging station from ORU's Marketplace, receiving a $450 rebate when they enroll, helping to reduce one of the barriers to owning an EV. Rather than expecting energy customers to manage EV charging themselves, the Charge Smart program automates the experience for customers, while also making it more cost-effective. The program has installed nearly 80 smart EV chargers to date with more on the way.