RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Happy New Year, everyone! I can’t believe it’s 2020, and on top of that we are starting a new decade! It is the milestones like this that make one take note of the blessings along the way. It has been an honor to have served at the helm of RMEL for the past nine years. It is even more exciting to think about broaching the new decade with new opportunities to serve the member community. I hope to share with you more information about new initiatives and offerings we are exploring to help move the association forward very soon.   

Emerging Leader Award Nominations

Nominate a next-generation leader for an RMEL Emerging Leader Award by February 6th. The nominee must have a minimum of 5 years of experience, and no more than 10 years of experience within the industry. Click here for the nomination form and complete eligibility requirements. 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.

RMEL Spring Conference

I hope you can join us for the 2020 Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference, May 11–13, in Austin, Texas at the Hyatt Regency Austin. This event will include 25 timely and relevant education sessions. RMEL’s 2020 Spring Conference features three tracks for Generation, T&D, and Management. I am very excited to tell you that we will be announcing the keynote for the 2020 Spring Conference soon! Preliminary topics for the event include: Roadmap for Future Generation Panel, Wildfire Mitigation Panel, Pressure for 100% Renewables Panel, Cycling, Battery Storage Implementation, Training/Education, Decommissioning, Electrification/EVs, Politics and Policies, Powering, Data Management, Public Outreach, Grid-Scale Battery Storage, Life Cycle Planning of T&D Assets, Customer Education, Water Conservation (Environmental), Fault Location, Isolation and Service Restoration (FLISR), Cyber Security vs. Sourcing Suppliers, Energy Markets (Utility Perspective), Distribution Energy Resources (DER) - Battery Storage Integration, Recycling of Materials, Energy Markets (Operator Perspective), Shift in Spending to Distribution and more. Don’t forget to mark you calendars now!

Promote the 2020 RMEL Foundation Scholarship Opportunities
Application Deadline is February 27, 2020

Please 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

Our foundation of educational programming starts with RMEL’s packed calendar of 2020 events. The RMEL Education Section Committees have listened to the electric energy community to uncover their training needs and continue to create timely conferences, workshops and roundtables with the best speakers from electric utilities and services and supplier companies. I really believe they’ve once again raised the bar this year. Get more details about the first 2020 RMEL events below.

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.

Safety Conference
March 25-26, 2020, Austin, TX

One of the most critical areas of focus for every utility, safety concerns and challenges are a focus for every area of the business. The increase of additional threats to the industry, its people, assets and infrastructure has expanded safety concerns to those focused on health. The conference will include broad safety and health initiatives and programs and take that focus throughout the organization to include discussions about personal efforts to stay safe. Topics will include health issues and industrial hygiene. Also will cover regulatory and policy issues.

RMEL Employment Opportunity

This past week, we lost a long time employee. After nine years with RMEL, Ashleigh has elected to pursue a career change. We greatly appreciate her long service with our association and wish her the very best in her future endeavors. With that departure, we are looking to add staff. If you all have any potential candidates with a desire to serve the industry and support the RMEL mission, please contact me. 

Let’s start off the decade together! I look forward to seeing you in 2020!

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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)

   
Burns & McDonnell
      
Power Contracting, LLC
   
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.

RMEL Champions is a prestigious group of RMEL supporters with access to useful and beneficial promotional opportunities. Get more details, and see a list of 2019 RMEL Champions!

Industry Information
  
The world has never been more aware of the importance of conserving resources and reducing carbon emissions. Nowhere is this growing consciousness more keenly felt than in the energy sector. Companies need to navigate increasingly demanding taxation regimes and government policies as well as the negative perception connected to fossil fuel taking root among the general population and brought to the fore by the likes of Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion.
 
 
 
 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to $20 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Extreme Environment Materials for Power Generation.
  
The challenge for the nation's electric system will be in accommodating a growing amount of renewable resources, according to NERC's 2019 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, released Thursday. The analysis shows more than 330 GW of solar and wind capacity are planned for installation through 2029.
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Australia’s Draft 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP) published earlier this month, intended to be an “actionable” roadmap for the efficient development of the National Electricity Market, calls for more pumped hydro in the system.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Eaton announced it has been awarded a $3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to pursue research and development initiatives involving control systems for behind-the-meter solar and energy storage.
 
 
 
 
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acted to protect the competitive capacity market administered by PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) by directing PJM to expand its current Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) to address state-subsidized electric generation resources, with certain exemptions.
In its newly released International Energy Outlook 2019 (IEO2019) Reference case, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will grow by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2050. Most of this growth comes from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and this growth is focused in regions where strong economic growth is driving demand, particularly in Asia.
 
   
CopperLeaf Technologies Inc.
   
Member Announcements
  
Later this month, Maria Lacal becomes part of an extremely rare group: women who run nuclear operations at a major utility. Arizona Public Service previously announced that Maria Lacal, currently Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Oversight, will succeed Bob Bement effective January 21. 
 
 
With load growth forecasted in Basin Electric’s service territory, teams have been established to explore new generation. The project teams for Bakken Generation and Lonesome Creek Station Unit 6 were set up to develop the construction projects, according to Gavin McCollam, Vice President of Engineering and Construction.
  
Paula Gold-Williams, President & CEO of CPS Energy was named the first ever 2019 Chief Trailblazer of the Year at the 21st annual S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards that was held in New York City on December 12th. 
 
 
El Paso Electric (EPE) (NYSE: EE) continues to take steps to make its power generation portfolio cleaner and more sustainable by enacting a long-term energy supply resource plan that includes expanding solar energy, introducing utility-scale battery storage, and constructing a new state-of-the-art-natural gas-fired generation unit.
Three promotions were announced regarding the senior management team at Nebraska Public Power District by President and CEO Pat Pope, Tom Kent was promoted to the position of Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Tim Arlt was named Vice-President and General Manager of Retail, and Robyn Tweedy was appointed Vice-President and Chief Information Officer.
  
Omaha Public Power District customers will see no general rate increases for the fourth straight year, per its newly approved Corporate Operating Plan (COP) for 2020. The utility’s board of directors approved the $1.3 billion plan at its monthly meeting.
 
 
   
Naylor Association Solutions
      
Naylor Association Solutions
   
Four Colorado utilities announced today that they plan to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM), operated by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), to save customers money while allowing them to use more energy from wind and solar. Xcel Energy, Black Hills Colorado Electric, Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River Power Authority have different business models, customers and geography, but all share a commitment to leading the clean energy transition and believe the WEIM will provide the most benefit to their collective Colorado customers.
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation announces its merger with Mid-Kansas Electric Company Inc. effective Jan.1, 2020. The merger of the two cooperatively operated, wholesale electric utilities incorporates Mid-Kansas into Sunflower.   
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced that it will donate $60,000 in funds, which will be matched anonymously, to the Yampa River Fund over the next three years. The cooperative is also a member of the Fund, which was established in September. The Yampa River Fund is a community-driven water fund dedicated to identifying and funding activities that protect the water supply, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities provided by the Yampa River.
  
Bucket trucks are Tucson Electric Power’s most iconic vehicles, frequently seen lifting crews more than 40 feet in the air to repair power lines. But our fleet actually includes a wide variety of vehicles, from the massive Condor – equipped with a 125-foot lift – to relatively tiny golf carts. Our nearly 800 vehicles include standard pickups, forklifts, flatbeds and even a snow track machine to reach communication towers on Mount Bigelow in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the winter.
WAPA successfully completed its transition to new reliability coordinators for its balancing authorities and transmission operators in the Western Interconnection after more than a year of preparation and testing. 
Southwest Power Pool began providing RC services to WAPA’s Western Area Upper Great Plains - West, Western Area Colorado Missouri and Western Area Lower Colorado BAs and the associated transmission operators Dec. 3. The BAs encompass the transmission operations for Upper Great Plains in the Western Interconnection, the Colorado River Storage Project and the Rocky Mountain and Desert Southwest regions.  
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