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Countdown begins for 2015 Edison Award

Published: 30 Apr 2015 10:36am

ERGON Energy has joined three US and two international electric utilities as finalists for the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI's) 2015 Edison Award - the electric power industry's most prestigious honour that recognises distinguished leadership, innovation and progress in advancing the electric power industry.

The EEI has announced that a committee of energy trade publication editors has selected The AES Corporation, Ergon Energy Corporation Ltd., and Saskatchewan Power Corporation as finalists for the International Edison Award. 

The Public Service Company of New Mexico, Tampa Electric Company, and Tucson Electric Power Company have been named as finalists for the US Edison Award.  The 88th annual Edison Award will be presented on 8 June at the EEI Annual Convention in New Orleans.

"This year's Edison Award finalists demonstrate the outstanding innovations taking place in the electric power industry and the ground-breaking projects and technologies that will shape the future of the industry to the benefit of our customers," said EEI President Tom Kuhn.

"These companies truly exemplify the electric power industry's commitment to providing safe, reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electricity to all customers."

Ergon Energy Chief Executive Officer Ian McLeod said being selected as a finalist in the international award was both gratifying and well-deserved recognition for the company.

Operating one of the single largest electricity networks in the western world, Ergon Energy developed an aircraft-based laser and imaging capture system that can quickly and efficiently map its network and reveal encroachment of vegetation and condition of poles, wires and other assets.

The technology - called Remote Observation Automated Modelling Economic Simulation (ROAMES) - delivers other cloud-based data which can be used to quickly assess large sections of network in a fraction of the time of traditional inspection regimes.

ROAMES combines pioneering geospatial mapping techniques with accurate three-dimensional modelling which shows precise locations of the electricity network in relation to buildings, trees and other objects.

"Dutch multinational Fugro purchased our ROAMES technology in 2014 but ROAMES continues to help us save millions annually in vegetation management. It contributes to a more reliable electricity supply, creates a safer working environment for crews, and helps get the lights back on to communities more quickly after a natural disaster," Mr McLeod said.

Details from the EEI of the International Edison Award Finalists are as follows:

Ergon Energy Corporation, Ltd. (Ergon - Australia) – Ergon Energy developed and deployed a pioneering asset management system to improve safety, reliability and resiliency across its large and physically challenging service region. With a highly dispersed network spanning varying climatic conditions, Ergon was challenged in managing the network's safe interaction with the surrounding environment, including vegetation, ground levels, buildings and storms. To meet these challenges, Ergon developed the ROAMES Virtual World Asset Management System - a commercially attractive solution around spatial intelligence and automated analytics designed to improve risk management, disaster response and safety performance, while reducing costs and enhancing its customer service and value proposition.

The AES Corporation (AES - Global) – The AES Corporation successfully completed a 10-year action plan to achieve the highest levels of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) performance. AES undertook this initiative in 2005 in order to bring its EHS systems and practices in line with its corporate value to "Put Safety First." After completing multiple EHS improvement initiatives and overcoming a number of challenges, AES attained top EHS performance levels in 2014 as measured by benchmarks set by EEI and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SaskPower - Canada) – SaskPower successfully implemented a ground-breaking commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration with the launch of the Boundary Dam CCS Project. The project went live in October 2014 and has already captured more than 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide, sold for use in a nearby enhanced oil-recovery project.

US Edison Award Finalists:

Public Service Company of New Mexico – Public Service Company of New Mexico has achieved notable success in its multi-year campaign to develop an alternative plan for complying with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regional haze program. The company's plan emphasizes customer affordability and extends beyond mere regional haze program compliance to also provide for additional protection of valuable national and state parks and wilderness, among other environmental benefits. This successful campaign will save customers $545 million and serve as a strong foundation for meeting future EPA regulations.

Tampa Electric Company – The Tampa Electric Company managed the expansion of its Polk Power Station and the commensurate need for an increased volume of groundwater in an innovative manner that is friendly to the consumer, the local community and the environment. The company forged creative regional partnerships with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Polk County, and the cities of Lakeland and Mulberry. In tandem with these partnerships, the company designed and built an innovative reclaimed water-treatment project that offers dramatic environmental benefits. It is the first power plant in the United States to combine reclaimed water and reverse-osmosis technology with deep-well disposal of wastewater, and will benefit local wetlands and the surrounding communities.

Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) – In 2014, TEP developed and executed a pair of innovative responses to address increased customer demand for distributed generation (DG) and the issues of cost shifting and other challenges created by third-party DG systems. TEP won regulatory approval to install solar panels on residential customers' rooftops and to provide their electric service for a flat monthly fee that will remain fixed for up to 25 years. The company also forged a first-of-its-kind partnership to develop a large solar array at Fort Huachuca that helps satisfy the US Army's energy security and green power goals.

About Edison Electric Institute

EEI is an association that represents all US investor-owned electric companies. EEI members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and directly employ more than 500,000 workers. EEI has 70 international electric companies as Affiliate Members, and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.

About Ergon Energy

Ergon Energy, as a Queensland Government-owned corporation, supplies electricity to over 720,000 customers across a vast operating area of over one million square kilometres – around 97% of the state of Queensland – from the expanding coastal and rural population centres to the remote communities of outback Queensland and the Torres Strait. Ergon Energy has almost 4,500 employees and an $11 billion asset base. Ergon Energy's electricity network consists of approximately 160,000 kilometres of powerlines and one million power poles, along with associated infrastructure such as major substations and power transformers. Ergon also owns and operates 33 stand-alone power stations that provide supply to isolated communities across Queensland which are not connected to the main electricity grid.

Sources: Ergon Press Release and EEI  Press release

Media Contact: Mark Timmerman
Phone: 0408 065 088

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