A panel of former utility chief executives has chosen this year’s winners of the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) Edison Awards, which were announced on June 13, the first day of the group’s 89th annual convention in Chicago.

The Edison Awards are given annually by the EEI, which represents investor-owned utilities, to recognize “distinguished leadership, innovation and contribution to the advancement of the electric industry for the benefit of all.”

This year’s U.S. winner was AEP, for the company’s work to reconductor 240 miles of 345 kV transmission lines in South Texas while energized (see photo). Through partnerships with Quanta and CTC Global, AEP was able to capitalize on several “21st-century technologies” that not only accelerated the work schedule to ensure that the required in-service date for the upgraded line was achieved but also benefitted the environment and increased the level of safety for all involved.

American Electric Power’s Energized Reconductor Project of the Lower Rio Grande Valley won the 2016 Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award for U.S. utilities. Courtesy: AEP
American Electric Power’s Energized Reconductor Project of the Lower Rio Grande Valley won the 2016 Edison Electric Institute’s Edison Award for U.S. utilities. Courtesy: AEP

This is the fifth time American Electric Power (AEP) has won the Edison Award, the others being in 2013 for the ultrasupercritical Turk Plant; in 1998 for environmental responsibility; in 1956 for leadership in generation, transmission, and the Ohio Valley Electric Corp.; and in 1953 for a supercritical plant and transmission above 330 kV.

The international Edison Award went to AES Corp. for its work in battery storage and specifically for the Advancion 4 system.

AES installed the first lithium-ion grid battery in service in 2008 and now operates the world’s largest fleet of advanced grid batteries. In 2015, the company introduced Advancion 4, the next generation of battery-based energy storage designed to scale and accelerate growth. Over a two-month period in 2015, AES brought online three Advancion arrays in three countries.

Advancion 4 is designed using what AES calls a “new abstract, modular architecture” that is open to pre-certified advanced battery and power conversion manufacturers. It allows battery suppliers to install new batteries over time to avoid the problem of obsolescence.

AES’s modular architecture for its Advancion 4 battery storage system enables interchangeable components from certified suppliers. Courtesy: AES
AES’s modular architecture for its Advancion 4 battery storage system enables interchangeable components from certified suppliers. Courtesy: AES

AES has won five Edison Awards in 10 years, beginning in 2007 in Latin America for outstanding operational performance results at the regional level; in 2011 in the Philippines for the successful turnaround of the 660-MW Masinloc Plant; in 2012 for the first new significant baseload generation in the Gener region of Chile; and in 2013 for the investment program in Cameroon.

A committee of energy trade publication editors selected the finalists: American Electric Power, Arizona Public Service Co., Edison International, The Empire District Electric Co., Green Mountain Power, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., Vermont Electric Power Co., and Xcel Energy for the U.S. Edison Award, and AES Corp. and CESC Ltd. for the International Edison Award.

Gail Reitenbach, PhD, editor (@GailReit, @POWERmagazine)