AEP, OG&E, AES-SONEL win EEI awards

The Edison Electric Institute honored Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E), American Electric Power (AEP) and AES-SONEL with awards for successful implementation of projects that boost local power grids and advance smart grid technology.

AEP

AEP won EEI's 2013 Edison Award for the company’s completion and commercial operation of the John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant located in Hempstead County, Ark.

Starting operations on December 20, 2012, the Turk Plant is the first U.S. power plant to employ an advanced ultra-supercritical steam cycle, according to EEI.

AEP’s Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) committed $1.7 billion to construct the Turk Plant that now serves as a principal source of baseload electricity for the three-state operating region of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

Throughout the course of the project, AEP surmounted major siting challenges and crafted solutions and contingency plans to maintain overall progress. The 600 MW plant was designed with emission control technologies, and the ultra-supercritical steam cycle uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions to create the same amount of power as other pulverized coal-based power plants.

AEP previously won the Edison Award twice in the 1950s, including once for pioneering the use of supercritical technology, and again in the 1990s for developing a sustainable, environmentally responsible business model for coal-burning power companies, according to EEI.

OG&E

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E) received EEI’s 2013 Edison Award for the company’s implementation of its innovative SmartHours program.

By using smart grid technology and involving its customers — along with adding wind, new transmission and demand-side management — OG&E will delay the need to build a new fossil fuel power plant and also reach its 2020 goal of achieving more than 200 MW of annual peak-load reduction.

The company installed more than 823,000 smart meters throughout its service area and exceeded its targets by enrolling more than 44,000 customers in its SmartHours program — achieving a collective 72 MW of load reduction on peak-use days. SmartHours is a voluntary program that offers OG&E customers a free programmable communicating thermostat (PCT) and a variable price plan with significantly reduced off-peak pricing and variable peak pricing during summer months.

Knowing that customers would be an important partner in achieving the 2020 plan goal, OG&E focused on putting them in control of their electricity use. The company communicated to its customers with a significant educational campaign that allowed them to better understand smart energy consumption and how to monitor their energy usage and costs. The result: 99 percent of Oklahoma customers in the program saved, on average, $191 per year on their electricity bills.

AES-SONEL

AES-SONEL won EEI’s 2013 International Edison Award for the company’s investment program in Cameroon, increasing access to electricity, improving system reliability and providing jobs.

AES-SONEL, an affiliate of global power company AES, entered the Sub Saharan country of Cameroon in 2001 and began investing in the country’s electricity sector in an effort to refurbish and add capacity.

AES-SONEL’s investment of $1 billion U.S. to renew and expand Cameroon’s electricity sector between 2001 and 2012 represents the single largest investment in the country over the past 10 years. The improvement resulting from the investment plan enabled more than 60,000 new families each year to get electricity for the first time, nearly doubling the number of families in Cameroon with access to electricity.

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