/ Awards / ESIG Renames Lifetime Excellence Award

ESIG Renames Lifetime Excellence Award

Parul Dubey on April 4, 2024 - in Awards, News

Photo l-r: Charlie Smith, Executive Director, ESIG; Mark Ahlstrom, ESIG Board of Directors President


The Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG), the leading source of global expertise for energy systems integration and operations, has renamed its Lifetime Excellence Award to honor long-time Executive Director Charlie Smith. 

The Charlie Smith Lifetime Excellence Award will recognize individuals in the renewable energy sector who have demonstrated significant  leadership and contributions to system planning, design and operation.  

Smith has spent nearly 55 years as a technical leader in the renewable energy industry. He has played a significant role in addressing technical barriers associated with clean energy grid integration, and has been instrumental in the evolution of ESIG since its inception as the Utility Wind Interest Group (UWIG) in 1989. 

“Charlie’s dedication to the expansion of renewable energy has been transformative for the power industry and the global push toward decarbonization,” said Mark Ahlstrom, ESIG Board of Directors President. “He has a very impressive career that has truly made him a legend in our industry.”

Smith earned his BSME and MS in Power Systems Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Early in his career, Smith participated in the formation of one of the first utility R&D departments, created at Con Edison in response to the 1965 Northeast blackout. He provided foundational staff support that led to the establishment of EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute. As a Branch Chief with the Department of Energy in the late 1970’s, he designed and managed the Utility Storage Applications program, working with industry leaders on cost and design studies for large power storage systems. 

His career has taken him around the world many times, working in the US, Europe and Asia to manage and later provide technical guidance to large utility system planning studies for generation, transmission and distribution systems. Smith is an IEEE Life Fellow, and has served the industry extensively with IEEE, CIGRE, NERC and IEC. 

He was named the Executive Director of ESIG in 2004, overseeing the association’s membership of electric utilities, manufacturers, project developers, wind and solar forecasters, consultants, government representatives and educational organizations interested in the integration of renewable energy and energy systems.  

“Charlie’s unwavering commitment to decarbonization, coupled with his depth and breadth of knowledge and his belief in the power of peer education, has transformed our industry and fostered the camaraderie that we need to achieve our clean energy goals,” said Debbie Lew, ESIG Associate Director. 

ESIG members celebrated Smith and other award winners at the 2024 ESIG Excellence Awards Ceremony at the organization’s annual Spring Technical Workshop, held this year in Tucson, AZ.


For more information or to become a member of ESIG, contact [email protected], or visit www.esig.energy.

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