RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL

Thank you RMEL members for all of your participation with RMEL in 2018! We closed out the 2018 event calendar last Friday with RMEL’s November Safety Roundtable and the planning session for the 2019 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention. Both of these events thrived on member feedback and participation. As we start to say what we’re thankful for in the next few weeks, I am thankful for RMEL members! RMEL has been your tradition in American Power since 1903 and that’s our privilege. We are working to continue to be your association for the future.

RMEL Market Research with WestGroup Research

This past year has been a great one for talking to members, listening and, most importantly, putting your feedback to work. By now, you’ve probably heard about our work this past summer with WestGroup Research to complete a market research initiative. I am excited to take this opportunity to give you report of what we heard and our action plan to work that feedback.

The RMEL Board of Directors and staff wanted to discover how can we best serve changing member needs in this evolving industry. By asking our diverse group of electric utilities and services and supplier companies, we knew we could learn more about the various needs of our membership and the industry. WestGroup completed a series of activities to gather information from a variety of data points. First, they hosted two focus groups at RMEL’s Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference. Then, they held in-depth, one-on-one phone interviews and sent out an online survey to all members. Thank you to all the members who were able to participate!

What’s Working

The RMEL experience is strong. Members place great value on the training and sharing of real best practices from the diverse member community:

“Excellent technical conferences where real utility issues and technical matters are introduced and discussed. Only such group where the round table discussions are just about as informative as the technical presentations. Also bring in industry leaders to present. Most bang for the buck of any power industry organization.”

“Only organization that successfully brings IOUs, MOUs, Coops, and industry together to address the challenges we are facing.”

 “Training, education and getting people in the business is a major strength of this organization. You do not see this type of focus in other organizations.”

Areas Where RMEL Can Add Value

Members see great opportunity for RMEL, including adding more new utilities and continuing to grow the association, working with today’s leaders (who are quickly retiring) to get emerging leaders engaged, and focusing on more targeted training in the areas of regulatory, renewable and new technology challenges and opportunities.

"Expand footprint, engage with other utilities to join, network more."

"Emphasis on new technology initiatives (such as wind and solar) would be beneficial since the industry is moving in this direction."

"We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the generation industry due to renewables, lower energy demands and Federal regulations, such as the recently instituted tax law revisions. I would like to see even more attention paid to these events in the future."

Thank you to everyone who participated and to all of you who have sent feedback to us through event evaluations and conversations with RMEL Board and staff. We are in a very strong position to act on your feedback, and that is exciting!

Action!

WestGroup presented results directly to the RMEL Board of Directors at the close of the project and the Board of Directors used the market research study results to engage in an in-depth brainstorming session, also facilitated by WestGroup. Key highlights from the results-driven session were:

  • Improve/update communications/channels – Emphasize a focus on providing ways to communicate RMEL materials and networking to next-generation members. 
  • Engage Decision Makers – Contact/build relationships with key decision makers in member companies to promote RMEL’s cost-effective programs for member needs.
  • Enhance conference logistics – Increase attendance at conferences/workshops by making it easier to attend, more affordable and providing content on what members need.

The Board revised the RMEL mission statement and vision statement to better reflect what drives us and where we are going as an association and an industry:

New RMEL Mission Statement:
Preparing the electric energy industry for the
future through education and networking.

New RMEL Vision Statement:
The Trusted Leader in Networking and Educational Programs
for the Electric Energy Industry

The Board also revised RMEL’s current strategies and initiatives, with emphasis on the industry's future workforce. There are seven strategies that Board and staff are focusing on over the next five years:

  1. Expand Educational Venues and Channels to Provide Strategic Solutions That Address Utility Challenges
  2. Increase Membership Engagement
  3. Increase RMEL Presence in Current and New Markets
  4. Align Data, Technology and Processes to Increase Effectiveness
  5. Sustain Financial Success
  6. Assist Members to Develop Future Workforce
  7. Attract and Develop the Next Generation Workforce

What These Enhancements Mean to You

Here are some new improvements you’ll see right away:

  • Online Call for Presentations and additional tools that make it easier on you to engage in your association.
  • Date shift for the Spring Conference and Fall Convention away from weekends to Monday-Wednesday.
  • Pre- or post- conference workshop attached to the Spring Conference.
  • RMEL Member Representatives can now pay for RMEL membership online. The traditional method of paying by check is still an option.
  • Online training through educational partnerships with our workshop presenters.
  • Enhanced communication: more social media, videos and other ways to connect with your RMEL community online.
  • A focus on young professionals training and leadership development.
  • More regional events.

And that’s just the beginning. The survey results, your continued feedback, RMEL’s Mission and the seven strategies, will direct all of our future activity. As the industry changes, your needs are changing and RMEL is evolving for you.

Thank you again for your feedback. The association is as strong as ever thanks to you all. It’s a great time to be an RMEL member, and we’re excited about the future! The networking and co-operation traditions that built RMEL 115 years ago continue to be major values of our association today.

This is your association. Please let me know of any new ways we can engage your organization.

Thank you again for the great member participation in RMEL events this year. We’ve listed RMEL Section plans for 2019 below, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Please have a safe, blessed and happy Thanksgiving holiday with your families and friends!

Education and Upcoming Events

Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop — January 17, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Security Conference — February 6-7, 2019
Steam Generation Cycling Symposium — February 20, 2019
Safety Roundtable — February 22, 2019 (Westminster, CO)
Transmission Conference — March 6-7, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Distribution Conference — March 13-14, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety  Conference — March 27-28, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Spring Management, Engineering & Operations Conference — May 20-22, 2019 *NEW MONDAY-WEDNESDAY DATES* (Phoenix, AZ)
Transmission Symposium — June 12, 2019
Power Supply Planning for Modern Energy Solutions — June 19-20, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament — June 26, 2019 (Littleton, CO)
Project Management Workshop — July 10-11, 2019 (Golden, CO)
Plant Management, Engineering and Operations Conference — August 7-8, 2019
Leadership Workshop — August 14-15, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable — August 23, 2019 (Golden, CO)
Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention — September 16-18, 2019 *NEW MONDAY-WEDNESDAY DATES* (Kansas City, MO)
2020 Spring Conference Planning Session — October 3, 2019
Distribution Engineers Workshop — October 9-10, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Renewable Planning & Operations Conference — October 23-24, 2019 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable — November 1, 2019 (Fort Collins, CO)

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RMEL Member Information

RMEL's trusted network is now accessible on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. These are forums intended for RMEL members only. Working side-by-side in a co-operative manner, RMEL members band together for the common goal of bettering the industry and improving service for utility customers. For more than 100 years, these key principles have proven successful, and more importantly, are tried and true methods for building strong business relationships.

   
Burns & McDonnell
      
Telcom Marketing Ltd.
   
Industry Information

Source: Energy Central
ScottMadden, Inc., one of North America’s leading management consulting firms specializing in energy, has released its latest edition of The Energy Industry Update (EIU). 

  

Source: Utility Dive
ISO New England said yesterday it has submitted proposed rule revisions to federal regulators that would allow batteries and other energy storage technologies to more fully participate in wholesale energy markets, including the real-time energy market.

Source: Renewable Energy World
Recurrent Energy says it has signed two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power for a 150-MWac solar power system with 180 MWh of battery storage.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has announced the launch of the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House initiated, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure and affordable water.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy
Building on the Administration's commitment to improving the resiliency, reliability and security of the nation's electricity delivery system, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the upcoming publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) introducing administrative procedures to implement DOE's designation authority for Critical Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII).

Source: Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International 
Some of the United States' most beautiful and geographically diverse locations are also marked by extreme weather occurrences, which can create disturbances on the electric grids that supply them with power. Borrego Springs, California, is one of those places.

  

Source: T&D World
Seattle City Light’s Denny substation is a stunning addition to the Emerald City’s South Lake Union neighborhood and sets a model for others to emulate for integrating infrastructure into the cityscape.

  

Source: Casper Star-Tribune
On a recent summer afternoon, Zoe Jane Morrison, a social scientist from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, was driving around Gillette looking for office supplies. She’s part of a team of researchers utilizing the carbon dioxide from the flue stream at the Basin Electric Dry Fork power plant near Gillette for other products. There is $10 million available from the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition for the group that captures the most gas for the most value.

   
Naylor Association Solutions
      
Naylor Association Solutions
   
Member Announcements

Black Hills Corp. announced it has received approval to combine two of its natural gas utility distribution companies in Colorado and to extend the recovery period of its system safety and integrity rider for one of its natural gas utilities in Nebraska.

  

The U.S. Air Force, alongside El Paso Electric (EPE), officially celebrate the completion and commercial operation of the Holloman Atlas Solar Array at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The EPE-owned and operated solar facility, its first built to serve a U.S. military installation, spans 42-acres and is dedicated to serve the Holloman Air Force Base electric load in Otero County, New Mexico.

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved updated plans for decommissioning Fort Calhoun Station (FCS).

Applications for electric vehicle charging station grants are now open. Up to $300,000 is available in this funding cycle for projects that help communities and businesses develop creative electric transportation infrastructure projects.

The NextEra Energy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and its parent, NextEra Energy, Inc., is donating $200,000 to the American Red Cross to support fellow Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. The company also is donating $100,000 to Gulf Power Transformers, a 501c3 public charity, and matching up to $50,000 of individual contributions.

Residents and businesses in Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland are invited to help shape the future of energy in northern Colorado.

  

Salt River Project will honor 18 innovative businesses and organizations for their commitment to conserve precious resources during its fifth annual "Champions of Energy Efficiency" awards luncheon. The event is part of SRP's ongoing efforts to encourage, inspire and honor commercial customers for taking advantage of SRP's Business Solutions programs to reduce energy use and save money on utility bills. 

Electric co-operatives want the Environmental Protection Agency to recognize their efforts to protect their members’ wallets, assure grid reliability and reduce carbon dioxide emissions as the agency works to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan over the coming months.

Liberty Utilities –Empire District linemen had a successful competition at the International Lineman’s Rodeo last weekend. Local apprentice, Ezra Piper, received first place in the apprentice Pole Climb competition against 290 competing apprentices.

TEP reached out to business customers in a new way by hosting a breakfast event at the company headquarters and a tour of the local power plant.

 

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and 2018 marks the 15th year that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is hosting this initiative. 

Renewable energy leader Xcel Energy announced it is working with Google to deliver tools customers can use to manage their energy use and save money. 

White Paper

Source: ScienceDaily
This team is the first to successfully reveal the fundamental chemical reaction present in solar power that could form the missing link to generate the electricity necessary to accomplish this process.