OUC’s Sam Choi (center left), Manager of Emerging Technologies & Renewables, and Clint Bullock, General Manager and CEO, accept the American Public Power Association’s Energy Innovator Award. With them are Jolene Thompson, Chair of APPA’s Board, and Colin Hansen, Chair-Elect of APPA.

OUC—The Reliable One was honored on June 22, 2021, with the Energy Innovator Award at the American Public Power Association’s National Conference in Orlando. The APPA award recognizes utilities that either develop or apply creative, energy-efficient techniques and technologies that provide better service to electric customers, or launch projects that increase the efficiency of utility operations.

OUC won the award for its innovation of a “nanogrid,” a test site of emerging energy assets that could prove to be integral to the utility’s goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim goals of 50% CO2 reductions by 2030 and 75% by 2040. Led by OUC’s Emerging Technologies team, the project seeks to offer replicable and deployable solutions for decarbonization and decentralization of the grid, backup power systems and growing electric vehicle use.

Members of OUC’s Emerging Technologies team pose by a trailer carrying hydrogen storage tanks. A hydrogen system and the floating solar array in the background are part of the “nanogrid” project. Team members are, from left, Tim Remo and Rubin York, Emerging Technologies Engineers; Paul Brooker (on trailer), Principal Research Scientist; Sam Choi (center), Manager of Emerging Technologies & Renewables; Justin Kramer, Supervisor of Emerging Technologies; Samir Sahasrabudhe (plaid shirt), Renewables Coordinator; and Tyler McKinnon, Program Support Specialist.

The nanogrid consists of a floating photovoltaic solar array, battery storage, vehicle-to-grid and conventional EV charging stations, and a hydrogen system. The hydrogen setup includes an electrolyzer, storage tanks and two fuel cells. OUC is part of a research team involved in a U.S. Department of Energy-supported $9 million project that’s studying the production, storage and transport of hydrogen for the dispatching of electricity or as transportation fuel. OUC is one of only a few utilities in the United States exploring hydrogen’s potential as a solution to the challenges of decarbonizing the grid.

Clint Bullock, General Manager & CEO, accepted the award at the APPA conference.

“We are honored to be recognized as an energy innovator by the American Public Power Association. The nanogrid is a cutting-edge project, leading the way for OUC and our industry to adopt innovative clean energy technologies and integrate them into the electric power grid,” said Bullock. “I am very proud of the work our team has done on this project.”

Posted June 23, 2021