California public power utilities, leaders honored for excellence during national conference
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Section: CMUA News

SMUD and its CEO, and Turlock Irrigation District, received prestigious awards this week during the American Public Power Association national conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Paul Lau, CEO and general manager of SMUD, received the James D. Donovan Individual Achievement Award recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to public power.

Lau has contributed to shaping SMUD's industry-leading initiatives through environmental leadership and innovative customer programs since joining the utility in 1982. Paul spearheaded the development of SMUD's 2030 Zero Carbon Plan to eliminate all carbon emissions from SMUD's power supply by 2030. Last year, he testified before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, where he shared the environmental and economic benefits of SMUD's clean energy plan. Lau currently serves on APPA’s Board of Directors and other energy industry boards, including CMUA, the Large Public Power Council, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Smart Electric Power Alliance.

SMUD also received the DEED program’s Energy Innovator Award honoring utilities that have developed or applied creative, energy-efficient techniques and technologies to their work. SMUD launched a pilot natural refrigerant incentive program intended to leverage existing relationships with its electricity customers to inspire and test local installations of innovative climate-friendly natural refrigerant systems. The program has been in operation since 2017, with two grocery store chains currently participating in a comparative performance evaluation. Supermarket refrigeration systems have been identified as a leading contributor to the emissions of harmful gases due to their complex designs and typically high leak rates. Because SMUD had been active in local climate collaborative planning and regional greenhouse gas inventory development, the utility realized that it had an opportunity to assist the region in raising awareness and helping its customers make this transformation. The innovation of the SMUD natural refrigerant incentive program will result in benefits not only in providing utilities with a blueprint for achieving deep decarbonization of existing buildings, but by providing third-party validated energy performance, cost analysis, and overall emissions reductions.

Turlock Irrigation District received the Sue Kelly Community Service Award recognizing utilities for their “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate commitment to the local community. In 2018, through the support of leadership and encouragement throughout the organization, Team TID was formed. Team TID is a voluntary, employee give-back program with a mission of empowering employees to create meaningful change in the communities they serve through volunteerism, community development activities, and charitable contributions. In 2019, Team TID reached an important milestone and received non-profit status as a 501(c)(3) organization. TID has supported its community through many events, including American Red Cross blood drives, raising money to purchase school supplies for local students, raising awareness for breast cancer research, and supporting families during the holidays with gifts and meals. Since Team TID's formation, more than 500 employee volunteers have participated in activities that have benefited the community, raising over $15,000 in funds.

A full list of the nationwide APPA award winners is here