RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Let the 2020 Educational Sessions Begin!

I am officially Fired Up for February! We kicked off our first RMEL event of the year this week, and it did not disappoint! The Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop actually sold out weeks ago. I am not surprised because Steve Sax is one of our most popular instructors. He has been running this workshop for RMEL for 15 years, with this being his 18th workshop. Through RMEL, he’s taken more than 1,100 individuals in our industry through the fundamentals of utility operations from the generator to the meter. Oftentimes we find ourselves so busy that we don’t take the time to "sharpen the saw,” as Steven Covey said. This program promotes a better understanding of the industry systems and influencers we deal with, resulting in an increased knowledge of how an employee's work contributes to the whole power cycle. For those with tight training and travel budgets, I would strongly encourage you to consider bringing this program in-house. Please contact us about getting Steve out to your location/region! Think of the level of engagement your employees can achieve through a better understanding of the electric utility system.  

Our next event is the February 2020 Safety Roundtable, which will be up at Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association in Westminster, CO. The featured presentation will be provided by Tyndale, covering emerging trends for arc-rated, flame resistant fabrics and clothing. Following the presentation, the group will break out in a facilitated discussion covering current safety issues that their respective organizations are challenged with, which might include near misses, lessons learned, successes, challenges and shared questions. That’s what RMEL is based on – sharing of experiences that benefit all members. We hope to see you there!

Upcoming RMEL Educational Opportunities

See the full list of RMEL's 2020 events further down in the newsletter.

Power Supply for Modern Energy Solutions Conference
March 11-12, 2020, Greenwood Village, 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, Greenwood Village, 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

Inspired by Texas, we’re making a strong statement for safety at the 2020 Safety Conference…Don’t Mess with Safety is the theme of this year’s Safety Conference! Safety is paramount in the power industry. It holds no boundaries, no rank. It is not a sometime thing. Safety is at the forefront in everything we do. Everyone is responsible for safety. When it comes to safety, everyone's a leader. Join us in Austin for the RMEL's 2020 Safety Conference!

RMEL’s Spring Conference is Headed to the Lone Star State

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. Register today!

2020 Fall Executive Leadership & Management Convention Keynote Speakers & Preliminary Topics

Mark your calendars and get registered for RMEL’s 2020 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention! The keynote speakers alone are worth it!

Preliminary topics being covered include:

We can’t wait to see you there! This is also a great opportunity to attend the Auction for the RMEL Foundation Scholarship fund. The RMEL Foundation has provided 366 scholarships totaling nearly $851,250  in the past 19 years. That simply wouldn’t have been possible without the Auction at the Fall Convention. Speaking of scholarships, the deadline for 2020 RMEL Foundation Scholarships is coming up…

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.  

We already know it’s going to be a fantastic 2020, and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Education and Upcoming Events

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 20, 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 5, 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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Industry Information
Southwest Power Pool's Board of Directors on Jan. 28 approved a 2020 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan Report that includes 78 projects in eight states worth approximately $545 million to construct over the next six years.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's recent actions interpreting the Natural Gas Act and the Federal Power Act "freeze out the states," Democratic Commissioner Rich Glick told a crowd of state energy officials.
On Distribution, Transmission or Substation equipment, testing for presence or absence of nominal voltage is mandated specifically by OSHA rule 1910.269(n)(5) which states “Testing. The employer shall ensure that, unless a previously installed ground is present, employees test lines and equipment and verify the absence of nominal voltage before employees install any ground on those lines or that equipment.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $3.25 million for the American-Made Geothermal Manufacturing Prize. This prize is designed to spur innovation and address manufacturing challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) jointly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner on a new Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative. 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected three additional projects to receive approximately $3 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects. 
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in ongoing actions to help utilities mitigate the risks of wildfires, today (2/5) issued a proposal that, if approved by the CPUC's Commissioners, would require utilities to conduct outreach to the public before, during, and after a wildfire in all languages prevalent in their service territories.
The Annual Energy Outlook presents an assessment by the U.S. Energy Information Administration of the outlook for energy markets through 2050.
The nation’s investor-owned utilities are leading a clean energy transformation that is already coming to fruition, the head of Edison Electric Institute told Wall Street analysts, bankers and investors Wednesday in New York.
Bonneville Power Administration engages in a top-down review of its equipment and operations to help preserve its legacy of safety.
CopperLeaf Technologies Inc.
Forbes Bros LTD.
Member Announcements
Arizona Public Service announced a goal to deliver 100 percent clean, carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. The company has been on a trajectory of increasingly clean energy through solar power innovation, major investments in energy storage technology, carbon-free nuclear operations and advances in energy efficiency solutions.
At their January board meeting, Basin Electric directors authorized a sixth natural gas generation unit to be added to the Lonesome Creek Station near Watford City, North Dakota.
Safety+Health, the official magazine of the National Safety Council, has announced the 2020 CEOs Who “Get It” – an annual recognition presented to safety leaders who go the extra mile to protect employees both on and off the job, as nominated by readers.
El Paso Electric is now accepting applications for the 2020 Summer High School Internship Program. The paid internship opportunity, in its eighth year, is open to all high school juniors in EPE’s service area.
Evergy, Inc. announced with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly that it will expand its wind energy portfolio by 660 megawatts, and reduce carbon output by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Electricity from four new wind energy sites will be used to attract and retain large commercial and industrial customers.
In fall 2018, Lincoln Electric System began a partnership with Lincoln Public Schools’ The Career Academy at Southeast Community College, also known as TCA, to construct a new tool for assisting in the public power utility’s community outreach efforts.
Residents in northeast Nebraska may be seeing some drones flying around, as inspection work begins on a Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) transmission line that extends from north of Norfolk, through Pierce County and into Antelope County.
PNM shared future technologies that could help the company achieve its 100-percent emissions-free goal by 2040. Over thirty community members attended in-person or via live webcast to discuss and deliberate existing and developing technologies, including customer side energy storage, energy battery storage, and microgrids.
Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, completed the previously announced sale of the Mankato Energy Center to Xcel Energy for $650 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments.
Salt River Project has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 400 megawatts (MW) of new solar energy. The RFP seeks proposals for up to 200 MW of solar to be sited on the Navajo Nation while the remaining 200 MW is not location-specific, but must deliver to SRP’s transmission system.
Liberty Utilities conducted a brief aerial survey of Company power lines and electrical equipment on Friday, January 31, 2020. 
In the most transformative change in its 67-year history, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced actions of its Responsible Energy Plan, which dramatically and rapidly advance the wholesale power supply cooperative’s clean energy portfolio and programs to serve its member electric cooperatives and public power districts.
Thousands of schoolchildren will learn about renewable energy and benefit from updated solar facilities at the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, thanks to a grant from TEP.
Michael Montoya has been named Western Area Power Administration’s new Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
Naylor Association Solutions
Naylor Association Solutions