RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

As always with this time of year, we take an opportunity to "finish strong” and get a head start on setting our sights on what the new year will hold for ourselves, our companies and our industry. Our association is only as good as the folks we surround ourselves with. We have certainly been blessed! The RMEL Board and Education Committees have guided the association in the right direction with those critical topics that will drive our industry in 2020. That same sentiment is evident with our membership as well. Changes in the industry that seemed so challenging or nearly impossible are now something that you all deal with every day. You all make it look seamless! I am continuously amazed at how your organizations are able orchestrate the fast-paced technology influences and are able to create a true "Vision 2020” throughout your workforce. The future is absolutely bright because of how this industry has collectively answered the call and taken on every challenge safely, cost-effectively and strategically. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead!  

Start your year off right! Take a look at the upcoming opportunities we have for you. 

Nominate a Next-Generation Leader for a 2020 RMEL Emerging Leader Award  

Who are the future leaders in your organization? Recognize them by submitting their names for consideration for the 2020 RMEL Emerging Leader Award. Recipients are provided development opportunities through a variety of interactions with past and current Emerging Leader Award recipients, the RMEL Board and exclusive workforce strategy sessions with Spring Keynote Speakers, all to hone their leadership skills and experiences. The nominee must have a minimum of 5 years of experience, and no more than 10 years’ experience within the industry. Click here for the nomination form and complete eligibility requirements. Submit your nomination by February 6, 2020. Let your employees know that what they do matters!   

Promote the 2020 RMEL Foundation Scholarship Opportunities
Application Deadline is February 6, 2020

Share the RMEL Foundation Scholarship Application with your industry colleagues and university contacts to help deserving students through financial support, and assist in drawing young talent to your company. The RMEL Foundation is currently accepting applications for baccalaureate degree, associate degree, or certificated programs that serve our utility industry. Applicants must be a high school senior or college/university undergraduate with the intent to enter the electric energy industry. Access the application and download the flyer.

Don’t miss the opportunity to promote your company through the sponsorship of an RMEL Foundation Named Scholarship. Contact the RMEL office at (303) 865-5544 or info@rmel.org for more information.  

Upcoming RMEL Events

I extend a special thanks to our RMEL Section Education Committees for once again pulling together relevant and timely educational content. Please take a look at what is coming to RMEL membership in early 2020. 

Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop
February 4, 2020, Denver, CO

This course is designed to acquaint non-technical utility employees with the basics of their industry from the generation to the distribution of electricity. The workshop will focus on five areas: an overview to electricity and electrical power systems, information on conventional production methods, alternative technologies, transmission and distribution systems and customer service. In the overview, you will learn about the basic theory of electricity, how it is produced, and delivered to your home. In the conventional production methods section you will learn the role of primary energy sources: water, gas, oil, coal, and nuclear. You will also hear about power conversion processes, system application, capital and operating costs and grid connection considerations.

Safety Roundtable – February 2020
February 21, 2020, Westminster, CO

Tom Severino, National Account Executive, Tyndale, will kick off the February Safety Roundtable with a discussion on AR/FR Clothing. Roundtables offer a unique forum for peer-to-peer sharing of experiences, critical issues and expertise. The roundtable is a discussion group, open only to RMEL members. Discussion is based on topics brought by attendees. Typically one or two presentations are given, followed by attendee discussion and sharing. Roundtables are focused on the open discussion period and provide each attendee the opportunity for participation and dialogue on their particular issue. Roundtables are held in conjunction with a conference and many topics presented at the conference are discussed further in the roundtable setting. The roundtable is a good opportunity to share experiences, troubleshoot problems and network with peers in a smaller, informal setting. Each participant is offered a chance to pose questions and share information. All attendees are encouraged to bring issues for discussion and materials for sharing.

Power Supply for Modern Energy Solutions Conference
March 11-12, 2020, Denver, CO

Evolving RTO markets, renewables, distributed resources, and calls for increased grid resiliency present power supply planners with significant challenges to ensure flexibility and reliability while remaining cost competitive. This conference will explore current trends, relevant projects and market perspectives to gain insight to this changing industry. A roundtable discussion will provide an invaluable opportunity for open dialogue regarding challenges and best practices in meeting these challenges.

Transmission Planning and Operations Conference
March 18-19, 2020, Denver, CO 

The grid is a lot less predictable due to changing markets, microgrids, energy storage dynamics, renewable integration and aging infrastructure. The entire planning process of the electric energy industry has shifted. Electric utilities are the power innovators, integrating new technologies and renewables onto the system while prioritizing reliability and regulatory compliance. You won't want to miss this opportunity to work together with RMEL's diverse membership (representing all different types of electric utilities) to collectively address the power industry's biggest transmission challenges. The conference is structured with presentations and also two roundtable sessions that give attendees time to discuss what's keeping you up at night and put everything from the conference together in a unique and tangible way. This isn't just a set of topics, but an interactive forum that allows you to benchmark your organization and continue to drive your company and the industry forward.

Distribution Technologies for Engineering and Operations Workshop
March 24-25, 2020, Tempe, AZ 

Engineers and designers involved in distribution will find this course helpful. In addition, supervisory or management personnel who desire a review of distribution practices and standards, or who are new to power distribution, will benefit from this course. Preliminary topics include fire mitigation, emergency operations, drone technology, processing data analytics of inspections, mobilization of workforce, renewable integration standards, customer behavior case study and 5G best practices.

RMEL Board of Directors Transitions

As I mentioned earlier, RMEL members have experienced the value of being represented by outstanding individuals and contributors to our industry. These individuals put in hours of volunteer time dedicated to the representation of their respective organizations and work collaboratively to share solutions to pressing issues in our industry for our members. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these outstanding individuals and feel extremely appreciative of their time and commitment to the Association. With that, it is always difficult for me to say goodbye to those individuals who have left the Board of Directors. I wish to acknowledge almost 25 years of RMEL Board experience that has stepped down from the Board this past Fall. Stuart Wevik, Black Hills Corporation, has actively served our membership as a Board of Director for the past 10 years. During that time, he served as President and on the Executive Committee in a variety of capacities. Stuart was recently named Senior Vice President of Utility Operations for Black Hills Energy Corporation. Tim Brossart, Xcel Energy, joined the RMEL Board in 2009 and served a term on the Executive Committee as VP of Education. Susan Gray, Tucson Electric Power, joined the RMEL Board in 2016 and actively participated as a Director. Susan has been named President of UNS Energy, Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy Services. On a personal and professional note, I wish to extend my deepest appreciation to Stuart, Tim and Susan for their contributions and friendship while serving on the RMEL Board.

With those departures, we wish to welcome our newest RMEL Board of Directors. Representing Black Hills Corporation, Nick Gardner joined the RMEL Board. Nick is the Vice President of Electric Utilities. Representing Xcel Energy, Kyle Williams has joined the RMEL Board. Kyle is a General Manager of Public Service Company of Colorado. Welcome to both Nick and Kyle. We look forward to your continued success and contributions. We will announce the representative from TEP/UNS soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Thank you to all RMEL members and participants who have made 2019 a wonderful year for your Association. From my family to yours, may each of you have a Blessed Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year!   

Education and Upcoming Events

Introduction To the Electric Utility Workshop --- February 4, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Safety Roundtable - February 2020 --- February 21, 2020 (Westminster, CO)
Power Supply Planning for Modern Energy Solutions Conference --- March 11-12, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Transmission Planning and Operations Conference --- March 18-19, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Distribution Technologies for Engineering and Operations Workshop --- March 24-25, 2020 (Tempe, AZ)
Safety Conference --- March 25-26, 2020 (Austin, TX)
2020 Spring Management, Engineering & Operations Conference --- May 11-13, 2020 (Austin, TX)
Plant Cycling & Flexibility Symposium & Tour --- June 10-11, 2020 (Overland Park, KS)
Transmission Resiliency, Response & Restoration Symposium --- June 17-18, 2020 (Denver, CO)
2020 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament --- June 24, 2020 (Littleton, CO)
Project Management Workshop --- July 8-9, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Grid-Scale Storage Workshop & Tour --- August 5-6, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Leadership Workshop --- August 12-13, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Safety Roundtable - August 2020 --- August 21, 2020 (Golden, CO)
2020 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention --- September 14-16, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Planning Session: 2021 Spring Conference --- October 1, 2020 (Lone Tree, CO)
Renewable Planning and Operations Conference --- October 21-22, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Transmission & Distribution Asset Management Workshop --- November 4-5, 2020 (Denver, CO)
Safety Roundtable - November 2020 --- November 6, 2020 (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 cooperative 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.

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Burns & McDonnell
Power Contracting, LLC
Industry Information
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) on Tuesday began its Western reliability coordination (RC) service on behalf of more than a dozen utilities in the Western interconnection.
One year ago, the utility began training its linemen and pilots in human external cargo to improve efficiency and safety.
The destruction wrought by a 2007 tornado gave the federal government an opportunity to build up a fully renewable town in a conservative part of the country.
Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center determined that ready access to near-real-time information about flooded roads (via satellite data) could have saved ambulance drivers and other emergency responders an average of nine minutes per emergency response and potential millions of dollars, using the 2011 Southeast Asian floods as a case study.
EDF Renewables North America and Shell Energy North America have signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for 132 MW of solar output in Riverside County, California.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is reaching design completion of its statewide sensor deployment program, allowing site installations to commence.
New research led by Curtin University explores the use of methanol as a storage for hydrogen fuel, providing a potential green option for the extraction and creation of this zero pollution energy source.
A publication of recent energy statistics. This publication includes total energy production, consumption, and trade; energy prices; overviews of petroleum, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and international petroleum; carbon dioxide emissions; and data unit conversions values.
Marine Power Systems won £4.3 million by the European Regional Development Fund to accelerate the development of a floating offshore wave and wind technology for energy generation in deep water locations.

CopperLeaf Technologies Inc.
Member Announcements
Austin Energy presented checks that total nearly $99,000 to the Austin Independent School District for its participation in the utility’s Load Co-op program and from donations to the Public School Energy Assistance fund.
APS was named as one of the world’s “Top 100 Green Utilities” in an annual report released by Energy Intelligence, a global independent energy news and research provider.
Dry Fork Mine in Gillette, Wyoming was the recipient of a state mine safety award given by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services during its Safety and Workforce Summit this summer. 

El Paso Electric (EPE), El Paso Water and Texas Gas Service team up to raise awareness and educate customers on scams through the fourth annual Utility Scam Awareness Week initiative. 
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC announced the start of operations at its newest solar energy generating facility, the Shaw Creek Solar Energy Center in Aiken. 
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors voted to add between 400 and 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar capacity to OPPD’s energy portfolio. It will be the largest solar presence in the state of Nebraska and one of the largest in the region.
Operation of one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the Southwest officially ended on Nov. 18th when its operator, Salt River Project (SRP), permanently shut down all three units of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), located on the Navajo Nation just east of Page, Ariz.
Rural electricity consumers will have expanded opportunities to participate in community solar under a new program recommended by the membership of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and approved by the cooperative’s board of directors at their November meeting.
Tucson Electric Power is rolling out two new pricing plans next year for owners of battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs), offering the lowest power supply charges overnight, seven days a week.
Western Area Power Administration has successfully completed its transition to new reliability coordinators for its balancing authorities and transmission operators in the Western Interconnection.
White Paper
Research from the University of Illinois and the University of California, Davis has chemists one step closer to recreating nature's most efficient machinery for generating hydrogen gas.