Distributed Energy Resources

APPA DEED Members Encouraged To Apply For Energy Innovator Award

Members of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Development’s (DEED) program are encouraged to apply for its Energy Innovator Award. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2022.

The APPA program’s Energy Innovator Award honors utilities that have developed or applied creative techniques and technologies to improve the efficient delivery of energy services in their communities through the implementation of new projects and programs. Awards recognize creativity, resource efficiency, benefits to consumers, transferability, and project scope in relation to utility size.

A list of APPA DEED members is available here.

Energy Innovator Award winners are chosen by an outside panel of judges carefully selected from leaders in the energy industry, public office, the media, and private business.

The most recent Energy Innovator Award recipients are Florida public power utility Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA).

OUC developed a nanogrid with the aim of achieving transformative strategic objectives that addressed decarbonization of the grid, electrification, and decentralization. OUC’s nanogrid will provide real-world testing of new technologies at a scale that allows OUC to gain valuable operational data, with lower investment risk.

The nanogrid aims to solve the key challenges of vehicle electrification, demand charge mitigation and resiliency through direct-coupled solar PV and battery storage with electric vehicle chargers.

Additionally, the nanogrid will be integrated with a hydrogen system for backup power, consisting of an electrolyzer, hydrogen storage tanks, and two fuel cells, which are part of a Department of Energy-supported green hydrogen feasibility demonstration.

SMMPA’s Member EV Charging Network was a collaboration between the agency, 17 of its member utilities, and ZEF Energy to facilitate the acceptance of electric vehicles and help with the transformation of both the electric utility and transportation industries.

SMMPA made the investment in the chargers and maintenance programs, while member utilities located suitable sites and handled the installation. This project will bring fast charging stations to the region and reduce range anxiety by providing EV owners with a quick charge when they are traveling longer distances.

For additional details on the SMMPA project and the process for applying for an Energy Innovator Award, click here for the latest episode of APPA’s Public Power Now podcast, which features Chris Schoenherr, Director, Agency and Government Relations and Chief External Affairs Officer, at SMMPA.

Among the 2020 Energy Innovator Award winners was South Dakota’s Heartland Consumers Power District.

During the summer of 2019, Heartland employed a college intern to develop calculator tools to help determine the annual benefit and cost of installing a renewable energy system, particularly a solar array. One calculator is for retail customers who want to install solar panels on their property, while the other is for the utility to determine the cost to the utility itself. The solar calculators are complete and functional within the Microsoft Excel program.

The calculator makes some assumptions but does so based on answers to certain questions including geographic location, making it a useful tool for any utility.

“We developed the renewable cost calculator to help customers make an informed decision when considering the costs and benefits of installing a renewable energy system,” said Ann Hyland, Chief Communications Officer at Heartland Consumers Power District.

“It also helps utilities determine the effect it will have on their system. Heartland has made a commitment to innovation and developing the necessary resources to most effectively serve our customers. As technology continues to evolve, it is vital to stay ahead of the curve, and this award helps recognize those efforts,” she said.

Additional details about the award are available here.