Winners at Global Platts Energy Awards

Siemens Digital Grid was among those named at the recent 2017 S&P Global Platts Energy Awards held in New York City. Hosted by S&P Global Platts, the annual awards programme “honours organisations and individuals in the energy industry who are dedicated to achieving excellence.”

Siemens was specifically recognised for its digital grid integrated distributed energy resources (DER) and digitalisation solutions, offerings that enable utilities to visualise, plan, manage and economically optimise energy resources on the grid. With the explosive growth of DER such as rooftop solar PV, utilities in many parts of the world are contending with resulting operational challenges such as two-way power flows and large “phantom” loads that suddenly manifest due to renewable generation intermittency.

To address these DER-related challenges, Siemens developed Integrated DER and digitalisation offerings such as integrated grid planning & simulation, distribution automation and grid control technologies, and market-driven applications that allow electric distribution utilities to intelligently plan, integrate, manage, and enable new business services.

“We congratulate Siemens Digital Grid for its Grid Edge award win this year,” said Martin Fraenkel, president of S&P Global Platts. “The independent panel of judges was impressed with Siemens for its stand out performance in this awards category and for its commitment to the energy industry’s advancement.”

The integrated DER and digitalisation solutions are said to be “unique in their flexible, modular design and in the approach used to ensure the solution deployment is aligned with a customer’s digital technology strategy. The modular nature of the solutions allows for easy integration with existing utility systems.”

The winners were selected from approximately 140 finalists, including Blue Lake Rancheria’s microgrid project for Commercial Application of the Year, from a record 28 countries.

Among the other award winners named at the 2017 S&P Global Platts Energy Awards were:

Energy Company of the Year

The judges felt that ENGIE astutely read the changes in the industry brought about by technological innovations, the application of digital technology and the growth of renewable energy, and moved quickly to develop high-technology solutions. They believe the company stands alone in its ability to balance profitability with the implementation of renewables on an unmatched scale. The panel declared them “the champion of the energy revolution.”

CEO of the Year
Andy Vesey, AGL Energy

Judges at the Platts Energy Awards valued his efforts to pivot away from coal to a diverse portfolio of renewables, a move Vesey sees as essential to both the success of AGL and the sustainability of the planet. In 2017, he launched the world’s largest virtual power plant at the time, with a goal of changing the way customers consume their energy.

Judges also praised Vesey for his “innovative approach to financing.” He founded the landmark Powering Australian Renewables Fund, an A$3 billion opportunity for investors to finance a portfolio of renewable assets.

Vesey is “progressive, enlightened and concerned,” noted judges, who appreciate his ability to “turn his company around” as well as his deft management of the global economic forces driving renewable energy.

Lifetime Achievement
Frank Zarb, Angeleno Group

Zarb’s “diverse background and sustained involvement in multiple boards and organizations” have earned him the respect of his peers and of the judging panel, who salute him as a Lifetime Achievement honoree.

David Owens, EEI (Edison Electric Institute)

Judges hailed Owens as “a pillar of industry” at EEI, where he developed “strong relationships,” helping represent the electricity industry on major public policies including wholesale and retail market restructuring, federal and state regulation, environmental regulation, and grid modernisation. Following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Owens was summoned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an embedded liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry, a role he cites as his proudest professional achievement.

Financial Deal of the Year
National Grid

Judges admired that National Grid laid the groundwork prior to the deal. The company flawlessly executed a complex de-merger separating the gas distribution business from the company’s other operations. This impressive restructuring included separating the unit’s finance, pensions, human resources, IT, treasury and operational management into a newly incorporated statutory entity. The pre-deal process also involved National Grid’s sale of a record £3bn sterling-denominated corporate bond, with proceeds used to support the operating company. One judge commented: “It’s a profitable deal that boosted the company’s outlook.”

Industry Leadership Award – Power
San Diego Gas & Electric

Judges appreciated that SDG&E “took into consideration all the critical elements while implementing a working renewable power plan.”

Grid Edge Award
Siemens AG

Judges concurred that Siemen’s involvement “represents the maturity of a growing industry” and is a “natural step in the direction of solving a large problem.”

Rising Star Award Individual
Gwenaëlle Huet, ENGIE

Judges commended Huet’s “impressive track record” including her experience running the Magritte Group, an unprecedented initiative bringing together eleven CEOs of the main European energy companies in order to define a common vision of the European energy markets. As leader of ENGIE’s renewable business unit, her responsibilities include completing strategic M&A transactions; running ENGIE Green, the wind and solar development plan in France that delivers green energy to 800,000 people each year; and developing pilot projects including a floating wind farm and a program to produce hydrogen using surplus wind energy.

*Information from S&P Global Platts Insight publication, December 2017