Grid Forward Reveals Winners of 2021 Grid Innovator Awards at Virtual Annual Meeting

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E Source, Snohomish PUD and Carl Imhoff are recognized for their industry-defining contributions to modernizing the electric grid.

June 10, 2021 –Grid Forward announced the winners of the 2021 Grid Innovator Awards during its Annual Member Meeting on June 10. E Source, Snohomish Public Utility District (PUD) and Carl Imhoff of PNNL were honored for their roles in helping to lead the electric utility industry forward in grid modernization across the western U.S.

“Grid Forward is the premier organization where our regional stakeholders come together to promote and accelerate grid modernization,” said Bryce Yonker, Grid Forward CEO and executive director. “While so many people and organizations have contributed to the cause, our Grid Innovation Winners have regularly stepped up with significant contributions.”

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Industry: E Source 

E Source CEO Wayne Greenberg

E Source was chosen for acting as a foundational source of insights for the utility industry. E Source was pivotal in helping utilities understand what innovation could look like in their organizations through data, analytics, engagements and publications. Many utilities in the region and nationwide come to E Source to better understand their customers, their systems, and what new tools they can use to better realize a just energy transition. E Source has helped to create a new generation of utility decision-makers that understand the value of data and innovation to their transformation.

“Data about customers has changed. They are no longer a cluster of “averages.” They are unique individuals who could be good or bad at engaging with utility programs” said Wayne Greenberg, CEO. “We as an industry have an opportunity to leverage this data and data science to better understand and engage our customers to improve participation and satisfaction while simultaneously supporting our ambitious clean energy goals. Whether the priority is increasing program participation, reducing demand on a specific feeder, or tapping customer resources to avoid a costly system upgrade, OneInform uses the power of machine learning to help match the right programs with the right participants. As Grid Forward members know, that’s critical for any utility’s success in an industry that’s rapidly changing.”

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Utility: Snohomish Public Utility District (PUD)

DER Team at Snohomish PUD

Snohomish PUD was chosen in large part for the impact of its Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Team consisting of individuals from Customer Energy Services, T&D Engineering, Power Supply and Rates groups.  This cross-functional team has broken down traditional silos in the utility in order to develop optimal DER solutions. Their plan addresses net impacts across power generation and acquisition decisions, capital and operational grid management, rate structures, customer service and conservation acquisition.

“I am so proud of Snohomish PUD’s Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Team and the work they have done to transition the PUD into a utility of the future!,” said John Haarlow, CEO and general manager. “This cross-functional team has developed creative solutions that allow the PUD to transition to a clean energy future with more customer choices, while maintaining reliable and cost-effective service to our customers.  The team has done an amazing job of implementing new technology and rate pilots and innovating new planning processes that integrate DERs on to our grid.”

Grid Innovator Award Winner, Individual: Carl Imhoff

Carl Imhoff of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Carl Imhoff, electricity infrastructure sector manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was chosen for his long history of advancing grid modernization in the region and across the world. Though his work at PNNL, Carl helped drive the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project and later helped to form and guide the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium. His work has helped PNNL become a leader in grid architecture, planning, advanced tools and real-time awareness. Carl was a founding member and driving force behind the formation of Grid Forward and has been a long-standing and active contributor.

“I’m very honored to receive the Grid Innovator award from Grid Forward, though grid innovation is really a team effort,” said Carl. “On behalf of our grid modernization team at PNNL, we’re proud to support Grid Forward in its efforts to bring together thought leaders from utilities, industry, and research institutions, all working build a cleaner, more resilient power grid for the nation.”

Podcast Panel on Decarbonization Completes Annual Meeting

The winners of the awards were introduced at Grid Forward’s Annual Member Meeting, a virtual event on June 10, 2021. They were chosen from a short list of finalists:

Afterwards, meeting attendees enjoyed a discussion panel on “10 Things Grid Operators can do for Decarbonization of Electric Systems,” with Michael Pesin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Jennifer Potter, Hawaii PUC Commissioner, and Bill Ritter, former Colorado Governor and Director, Center for New Energy Economy. A recording of this panel will soon be published in the Grid Forward Chats podcast series.

About Grid Forward

Grid Forward is a 501(c)(6) non-profit, member-driven trade association dedicated to promoting and accelerating innovation on the regional electric system. We deliver community, expertise and resources for leaders who are working to modernize the grid across the western U.S. and Canada. More information can be found at

Media contact: David Smith, marketing director, Grid Forward

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