The SEPA Power Players Awards provide industry and general public recognition to utilities, their industry partners, individuals and other industry stakeholders that are on the front lines of energy industry transformation in the United States.

The awards focus on projects, initiatives and thought leadership that promote collaborative, innovative and replicable models for change by:

  • Expanding knowledge about and access to distributed energy resources
  • Transforming public perceptions and understanding of the electric industry
  • Advancing progress toward an integrated, clean energy future

Formerly the Solar Power Player Awards, the 2017 SEPA Power Player Awards introduced two new categories to better reflect the expansion of SEPA’s mission beyond solar – Change Agent of the Year and Visionary of the Year.  In addition, the Solar Champion category was changed to Power Player of the Year.

2017 SEPA Power Players Winners


Electric Cooperative Utility of the Year
Why they won
OECC worked with its largest industrial customer — defense contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne – solar developer Silicon Ranch and the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Corporation (AECC) to construct a 12-megawatt (MW) solar array that is truly unique.

The unique part of this collaboration was the power purchase agreement (PPA) that placed the array behind Aerojet Rocketdyne’s meter, giving the company a fixed, low-cost power supply. The project was the first utility-scale solar array built in Arkansas. It also provided approximately 6 MW of peak capacity and energy to AECC while simultaneously reducing the peak demand for OECC.This reduction in peak demand has lowered the cost of power for all OECC members.


Investor Owned Utility of the Year

Why they won
Through PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program, the utility has become a leader in landfill and brownfield solar development. PSE&G has built nine solar farms, totaling 52.58 MW of solar capacity, on either landfill or brownfield sites in the last several years. Also unique, all systems are grid-connected, rather than net-metered, and utility-owned.


Public Power Utility of the Year

Why they won
CPS Energy has advanced the deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) through multiple innovative programs and tools that support customer choice, enhance grid management and realize the value of DERs through forward-looking policies and consumer education. Three such initiatives include two solar pilot programs aimed at making solar accessible to all customers, collaborating with local installers to adopt consumer protection policies and leading Texas in using demand response resources as a tool for managing peak load and avoiding price spikes.

Innovative Partner of the Year

Why they won

Innovative Partner of the Year

Stem worked with multiple utilities in 2016 to ensure a reliable grid. Two examples include:

Southern California Edison

Stem’s storage system will be used to deliver 85 MW of flexible capacity for the Local Capacity Requirements procurement, an initiative that integrates energy storage, energy efficiency, demand response and other preferred resources as capacity resources in the highly congested West Los Angeles Basin.

Hawaiian Electric Company

Stem’s fleet of 30 behind-the-meter storage installations is demonstrating new grid response capabilities for Hawaiian Electric under a 1 MW Aggregated Customer-sited Storage Pilot. Stem’s fleet acts as a virtual power plant to manage diverse load shapes and site characteristics, and the company’s cloud-based data analytics software incorporates weather, and historical and real-time usage data to predict when electric use will peak at a given site.

Change Agents of the Year
Why they won
Recognizing the rising adoption of clean energy products within the home automation space, KCP&L, Nest and CLEAResult targeted KCP&L’s existing thermostat program for a redesign focused on greater energy efficiency and demand management. By fundamentally shifting the paradigm of how electric utilities, program implementers, and technology partners engage with shared customers, the three organizations created a program that empowers customers and can grow with new technology as it emerges. As of January 2017, the program has completed a total of 8,059 thermostat installations – double its original goal. Pre-evaluated savings for the program are estimated at 10 MW of load reduction and 3.7 gigawatt hours of energy savings in nine months.

Visionary of the Year

Why they won
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Sustainable CUNY, a program of the City University of New York, formed the Smart Distributed Generation Hub as a pathway to a more resilient, distributed energy system. The Smart Distributed Generation Hub developed the NYC Resilient Solar Roadmap, providing strategies for addressing the key barriers to installing solar and storage in an urban environment.


Gil Quiniones

President & Chief Executive Officer, New York Power Authority

Power Player of the Year
Why Gil won
Gil C. Quiniones, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, is leading the charge to make NYPA the first fully digital utility in the country: a comprehensive digital infrastructure addressing New York State’s ever-evolving energy, environmental and economic needs.

This bold initiative is groundbreaking in concept and scope, and provides a template for replication throughout the nation. Through full digitization, NYPA will monitor power generation, transmission and use with unprecedented granularity, sophistication, and precision, developing new generation applications that consider the full diversity of energy sources to move New York closer to the state’s Clean Energy Standard, requiring 50 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Today Quiniones’ visionary strategy incorporates three digital pillars: the New York Energy Manager (NYEM) monitors of energy use among New York State’s vast building portfolio; the Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC) continually analyzes NYPA’s 16 energy plants and 1400 miles of transmission lines across New York, and the Digital Back Office is organizing NYPA business functions into a digitized stream of information. Next up in his plan is establishing a Digital Foundry, an on-site incubator where internal and external innovators will access these enormous data sets to identify solutions to energy challenges to improve lives in—and far beyond—New York State.

As a well-established leader in the energy community, Quiniones is in a unique position to spread the word about the power of the a fully digital utility. The power of Quiniones’ vision is that it provides an exemplar that can be replicated by utilities throughout the United States. If one is to understand innovation as the process of taking ideas and putting them together in new ways, of seeing potential where others don’t, Gil Quiniones is an innovative and powerful 21st century leader in the energy industry.