Fortnightly Magazine - October 2023

Why They Wanted to Innovate? Because It is There

Fortnightly Top Innovators

When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Leigh Mallory famously said, “because it is there.” I thought of that inspiring line when wondering why this year’s Fortnightly Top Innovators wanted to innovate. Is it because the challenge, and the fruits of conquering it, were right there before them, beckoning them?

Edith Clarke Top Innovator Award for Reliability: CenterPoint Energy

Top Innovators

“We switched over to a digital platform for substation protection and control, compared to the hundreds or thousands of copper cables. Our new solution enables us to complete construction more efficiently. We can deploy this type of technology and construct a substation control house in a matter of months instead of years.”

Lewis Latimer Top Innovator Award for Design: Avangrid

Top Innovators

“This innovation is about a simulation in the metaverse, simulating cybersecurity events, and how we can react to them. We created three virtual meta worlds, an electrical substation, the emergency communications center or ECC, and a cybersecurity collaboration meeting room.”

Charles Steinmetz Top Innovator Award for Grid Operations: Exelon

Top Innovators

“Our innovation improved defect detection, reduced manual labeling hours, and enabled us to create realistic images of rare defects where real-world data was scarce. It gave us a scalable methodology to apply this across various assets. This innovation paves the way for more drone deployments, reducing field hazards for crews, and accelerating defect resolution for better grid reliability.”

Nancy Fitzroy Top Innovator Award for Environment and Safety: Xcel Energy

Top Innovators

“We saw a need in the nuclear industry to reduce costs and improve safety. We’ve implemented a multitude of drones and robotics to replace people in hazardous environments, have eliminated that safety hazard, and the equipment is relatively low cost compared to the amount of savings. It’s been a win-win.”

Maria Telkes Top Innovator Award for Distributed Energy: Arizona Public Service Company

Top Innovators

“The team has been responsible for scaling our DR portfolio, which has grown into a Virtual Power Plant. With almost 80,000 thermostats enrolled in Cool Rewards – a smart thermostat program for residential customers – we’re capable of shedding more than 110 MW of energy demand. That’s equivalent of a small power plant, or 15,000 homes.”