WASHINGTON - The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today named the finalists for the 2011 Edison Award, the electric power industry's most prestigious honor.
Cleco Corporation, Dominion Resources, Exelon Corporation and NextEra Energy were nominated for the U.S. Edison Award, while AES Philippines and Tohoku Electric Power were nominated for the international Edison Award. The award, presented annually by EEI, recognizes U.S. and international electric utilities for outstanding leadership, innovation and contribution to the advancement of the electric industry for the benefit of all. The finalists were selected by a committee composed of energy trade publication editors. Winners will be selected by a panel of former electric company chief executives.
This year's award, the 84th annual, will be presented in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the EEI Annual Convention and Expo that runs June 12-15.
EEI President Tom Kuhn praised the contributions by the finalists, saying, "These are all trend-setting accomplishments that demonstrate the unswerving commitment to innovation and reliability within the electric utility sector," Kuhn said. "I'm always impressed by the Edison Award finalists because their efforts are indicative both of our industry's proud history and its promising future."
Descriptions of the companies' efforts are as follows:
Cleco Corporation - Cleco spent 2010 balancing the company's fuel mix, stabilizing prices for customers and developing its foray into renewable energy. Specifically, Cleco finished construction of the 600-MW Madison 3 plant, the largest in the company's fleet, which uses circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) technology that is designed to utilize biomass, petroleum coke and other solid fuels. The plant also added a state-of-the-art dry scrubber and baghouse to collect emissions. Cleco retained 94 percent of its new employees hired for the unit thanks to pre-employment testing and thorough training operations.
Dominion - Seeking to improve reliability due to fast-growing suburbs within its service territory, Dominion finally achieved success in completing the Pleasant View to Hamilton transmission line in 2010. The project was considered a priority more than 20 years ago to meet growing demand and maintain reliability, and was finally set into motion after Dominion transparently worked with local community members and one-time opponents. Dominion collaborated with the Virginia Department of Transportation and enthusiasts of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad trail to construct the transmission line and minimize impacts of the project, while keeping the public informed. The effort included a two-mile paved detour around the transmission line's right-of-way to safely re-direct trail users.
Exelon Corporation - In an effort to promote its core value of diversity and inclusion among its financial partners, Exelon established credit agreements worth $94 million with 29 community and minority banks throughout its service territory in 2010. The agreements not only granted Exelon's subsidiaries access to an incremental liquidity source at competitive prices, but it also elevated the banks' profiles in their business communities and strengthened their local economies. Exelon last year also introduced a program to measure the performance of the banks and financial consulting companies it works with in the areas of diversity and inclusion and to recognize those firms that best exemplify these values.
NextEra Energy - NextEra Energy's 75 MW Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the first hybrid power plant to integrate a solar-thermal array with a combined-cycle natural gas unit. On the hottest afternoons, the facility now burns less fuel, not more, to meet peak demand. By using the existing plant's steam turbine and transmission lines, the solar thermal array could be built for 20 percent less than a stand-alone solar facility. Over its lifetime, the array will save 600,000 barrels of oil, 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 2.75 million tons of greenhouse gases. The project created 1,100 jobs and came in $75 million under budget.
AES Philippines - AES Philippines, part of global power company AES, acquired the Masinloc plant in the Philippines, with an eye to improve its operational performance. Within two years, AES Philippines improved its maximum net generation from 433 MW to 630 MW. Beyond expanded capacity, AES Philippines improved the plant's efficiency by 13 percent and restored the plant's mechanical infrastructure and improved boiler efficiency and environmental controls. The company also addressed the plant's coal storage and dust controls in order to increase the overall environmental performance. AES Philippines worked to instill a pro-active safety culture through extensive training, empowering its people by initiating an Achievement of Excellence Award to recognize outstanding performance by colleagues. The rehabilitation was completed in 2010, and in the same year the Masinloc plant safely operated at an output 31 percent higher than its historic average, a testament to its efficiency and the team's determination. This further underscored the company's commitment to support the continued economic development of the Philippines.
Tohoku Electric Power - In an effort to address increasing GHG emissions in Japan, Tohoku Electric Power Company replaced coal-fired units at its 50-year-old Sendai Thermal Power Station with natural gas combustion and high-efficiency combined cycle power generation. Located in the Matsushima Prefectural Natural Park, the plant was re-designed to accommodate the local natural environment, creating improved view-sheds by reducing new infrastructure height and harmonizing its surroundings with traditional white Japanese architecture. The project resulted in a 900,000-ton reduction of CO2 emissions in a year, and an 80-percent reduction on NOx emissions.