The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has named CPS Energy president and CEO Doyle Beneby its 2012 Utility CEO of the Year for his leadership in integrating solar power into the utility’s energy portfolio.
CPS Energy of San Antonio, Texas, is the largest municipally owned utility company in the United States. The company serves over 707,000 electricity customers and more than 322,000 natural gas customers in its 1,566-square-mile service area.
Last month, Beneby led a ground-breaking public-private partnership between CPS and San Antonio-based OCI Solar Power that is expected to catapult Texas into the ranks of the top five U.S. solar-producing states. The project also will create more than 800 long-term jobs and drive an estimated $700 million in economic impact each year.
OCI Solar will develop, own and operate the largest public power utility solar project in the country, which is projected to generate more than 400 megawatts (MW) of solar energy through a consortium of partners. At their peak, the solar facilities are expected to power more than 70,000 local households— or about 10 percent of San Antonio’s households.
The first phase of the project— which includes 50 MW of solar power— will be completed by mid-2013. Plans are for the remaining megawatts to be built through 2016.
Beneby joined CPS Energy in 2010 and has championed a move toward integration of renewable energy. During 2011, the utility commissioned 30 MW of solar power in a partnership with Beltsville, Maryland-based SunEdison (News - Alert).
CPS Energy expects to reach its goal of having 20 percent (or 1,500 MW) of its generation capacity from renewable energy by the year 2020.
“The Solar Electric Power Association is pleased to recognize Doyle Beneby as its 2012 Utility CEO of the Year,” said SEPA president and CEO Julia Hamm. “He understands the importance of integrating solar power into the San Antonio region’s energy mix and we applaud his ongoing commitment to further diversify CPS Energy’s electricity generation.”
She added, “Mr. Beneby is moving San Antonio to the forefront of affordable solar energy in the U.S. and leading a charge that has the potential of transforming the region into a center for clean energy development.”
A veteran of the energy industry with 25 years of experience, Beneby has expertise in many facets of the electric and gas industry including strategic planning, generation and delivery operations, and asset acquisition. Before joining CPS Energy, Beneby held positions with Exelon Corporation, CMS and FPL. Beneby serves on the boards of directors for corporate and industry organizations such as Capital Power Corporation, Keystone Energy, the American Gas Association, Texas Public Power Association (TPPA) and American Public Power Association (APPA).
SEPA is a trade organization with more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members. The award will be presented to Beneby at the group’s Annual Membership Meeting, to be held in Orlando on September 11, in conjunction with Solar Power International (SPI), a trade show and conference hosted jointly with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
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Edited by Brooke Neuman