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Southern Company system employees honored with EPRI Technology Transfer Awards

EPRI has honored Southern Company system employees with Technology Transfer Awards for the 25th year in a row. These distinguished awards highlight leadership and excellence in collaborative research and development (R&D) initiatives throughout the generation, nuclear and power delivery and utilization sectors.

This year, EPRI recognized 18 employees for their hard work and research accomplishments, performed in 2022, across a variety of technology areas and challenges. Winners represent organizations across our enterprise – Alabama Power Power Delivery, Georgia Power Generation, Southern Company Transmission, IT Security, Fleet Operations and R&D, as well as Southern Power and Southern Nuclear.

“Technology is essential to operating our business and solving our industry’s toughest challenges of both today and tomorrow,” said Stan Connally, executive vice president of Operations and CEO of Southern Company Services. “By leveraging technology, we can make smarter decisions faster and find new ways to deliver even more value to our stakeholders.”

“These awards are well-deserved recognition of the hard work by each of these teams and individuals to deliver continuous improvement while reimagining the future of energy,” said Connally, who currently serves as EPRI’s chairman. 

2022 EPRI Technology Transfer Award Winners

  • Alex Avery and Harish Sharma for leadership in geomagnetically induced current modeling and analysis. Solar storms, which cause geomagnetic disturbances (GMD), serve to drive geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) through the Bulk Power System. Because GIC can damage key equipment and disrupt normal grid operation, NERC released Reliability Standard TPL-007 requiring utilities to perform GMD vulnerability assessments. Using EPRI’s GICharm tool, Southern Company can perform these critical assessments in an efficient and timely manner.
  • J. Doug Arnette, LaTisha Fluellen Crumbly, Eric Johnson, Kevin Lofton and Jeff Wilson for their work on landmark hydrogen and natural gas blending at Georgia Power’s Plant McDonough-Atkinson – the first demonstration to validate 20% hydrogen fuel blending on an advanced-class gas turbine in North America, and the world's largest test of its kind to date.
  • John Bowen for modernizing the distribution planning process, using automated processes to provide distribution assessment. With these new tools, Southern Company can determine the best alternatives to solve distribution system loading and voltage issues. This work puts Southern Company at the forefront of providing the most economical and low-carbon solutions – either conventional options, non-wire alternatives or a combination of both – to correct distribution issues.
  • David Hillman, Steve Sanders, Chris Taylor and Alex Waitkus for investigating next-generation operation technologies within cybersecurity visibility. As cyberattacks increase, there is a critical need for more in-depth detection, monitoring and forensic capabilities. Southern Company developed a distributed system with extensive bandwidth savings, reduced license costs and the ability to leverage open-source technologies. After successful demonstration at EPRI’s cybersecurity laboratory, Southern Company plans to pilot this solution at a power delivery site in 2023.
  • David Ault, Kyle Corley, Will Hobbs and Anita Pressley for testing and evaluating probabilistic solar forecasts for fleet operation. The effort developed additional forecasting information for unit commitment and led to additional studies helping to enable future dispatch features such as a solar-based automatic generation control that could support grid stabilization using photovoltaic solar.
  • Raldy Cardona and Kimberly Murphree for applying EPRI’s continuous online monitoring guidance results in improving maintenance strategies for Vogtle 3 and 4. This type of value-based maintenance could ensure critical components in the first AP1000 plants have adequate maintenance strategies, which help reduce workload, overall cost and induced failures post-maintenance. This work created over 3,000 preventative maintenance tasks, reduced 229, 000 work hours and saved an estimated $13 million throughout the life of the plant.

Award recipients are being honored in virtual and in-person ceremonies for each respective research sector throughout the spring.

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