RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Welcome to June! This time of year is usually filled with baseball games, graduation ceremonies and summer vacations. Today, we are all making the most of our current situations – just being thankful for time with family and friends. I continue to admire the way our industry and everyone in their professional and personal lives have adapted. For me, continuing to deliver the RMEL experience under any circumstance has been the TOP priority. Networking and socialization are just as important as the training provided at RMEL events. In an effort to bring members together, we held a "pilot” virtual roundtable for our Generation Section this week. Committee members invited a few of their colleagues, and it was great to hear the open dialogue and candid conversation once again that our members have grown to expect. It felt like RMEL, and it felt like we tapped into a vital part of RMEL’s culture. We are planning to build from that pilot model as we roll out virtual events for all RMEL Education Sections. I cannot wait to provide more details to you all soon, and I am extremely grateful the RMEL Education Section Committees and the RMEL Board of Directors for their continued guidance and thoughtful dedication to keeping RMEL members connected.

I am excited to begin offering more technical and networking programs soon! As you probably know, our first virtual programs in April and May were focused on addressing some of the immediate needs that we heard as the COVID-19 Pandemic began. Webinar instructors provided strategies for employee communication, culture and professional development during times of crisis. Our next complimentary webinar is coming up in a few days…Wednesday, June 10th: Meeting the Needs of Your People, While Meeting the Needs of Your Business: A Path to Productivity Post COVID-19. Harold Hardaway, PhD,  Former Director of Communications, H-E-B, & Co-Founder & CEO, Cardigan, and Shannon Hernandez, Chief Creative Officer, Cardigan, instructed our very first webinar, and they are returning for this one. The re-entry to the workplace, tracking changes and Improvements, productivity, employee engagement and leadership topics have all received much comment and discussion. With many of our members beginning this phase, we felt this webinar would be a timely topic for us all. We hope you’ll join us and invite your colleagues!

The RMEL Foundation Board of Directors is also working very hard to be there for students and RMEL members right now. That includes awarding $84,000 in scholarships to 41 students across the country this year! There is so much talent and ingenuity in the younger generation coming into this industry. In the spirit of continuing to help fund that future, the RMEL Foundation Board is also working hard to figure out how we can raise funds for more scholarships in a time when everyone is feeling the economic impacts and pressures on limited funding from COVID-19. In the best interest of members during these uncertain times, both fiscally and health wise, we have made the difficult decision to CANCEL the 2020 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament scheduled for June 24th.  With many member companies maintaining restricted travel within their respective organizations, the RMEL staff is also looking into options to move our Fall Convention into a virtual format.  Along with that, we will expand the RMEL Auction segment of the Convention by opening the bidding to ALL RMEL MEMBERS AND PARTICIPANTS in a new 100% virtual format. I look forward to keeping you posted on those details soon!  

Please continue to let me know of topics, needs and programs you’d like to see from RMEL. Nothing is off the table. Virtual webinars, roundtables, networking hours, workshops and conferences are all being considered until we get back to our face-to-face events. I often think about what that’s going to look like when we do all get together again, and one thing is for sure: it’s going to be BETTER than it was before because we will continue to develop these virtual options that will complement RMEL’s live events. I sincerely want to thank everyone who continues to assist us and offer your expertise. Thank you! Please stay safe and healthy, everyone!  

Education and Upcoming Events
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!

   
Burns & McDonnell
      
Power Contracting, LLC
   
Graduate-Level Education in Power Systems Engineering – Entirely Online
EPCE
EPCE and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have partnered to help prepare graduates for careers in engineering management and to also further the education of experienced engineers. Our power systems engineering program combines essential topics in power systems engineering with technology-focused business courses. Graduate-level certificates and degrees are offered.
Accelerate your career today
Advertisement
Industry Information
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Technology Transitions has announced new resources for innovators to combat COVID-19 through its Lab Partnering Service (LPS) and the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program (CTAP). Supported by DOE's Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), these initiatives will allow America's innovators to readily access vital resources and connect and partner with experts at DOE's 17 National Laboratories in the fight against the virus.
  
The Atlantic hurricane season began Monday, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it is anticipating a "busy" six months. 
  
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has announced a final rule the EPA says “will help accelerate and promote the construction of important energy infrastructure across the United States, while ensuring the nation’s waterways are protected.”
  
The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium announced the selection of twelve projects for contract negotiation, completing its first solicitation for offshore wind research and development technology projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to $30 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for Small-Scale Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems and Hybrid Energy Systems.
  
The road to large-scale hydrogen production is likely to be long and riddled with tough challenges, particularly if it is to become a fixture offshore.
Canada is the largest source of U.S. energy imports and the second-largest destination for U.S. energy exports behind only Mexico. Energy is an important component of trade between Canada and the United States. In 2019, based on the latest annual Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) data from the U.S. Census Bureau, energy accounted for US $85 billion, or 27%, of the value of all U.S. imports from Canada. Crude oil and petroleum products accounted for 91% of the value of U.S. energy imports from Canada and 89% of the value of U.S. energy exports to Canada.
  
The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has signed an implementation agreement with Xcel Energy Colorado, paving the way for its participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) in 2022. 
   
Forbes Bros LTD.
   
Member Announcements
Since City Council's April 9th passage of funding for additional utility bill assistance during this unprecedented time, City of Austin Utilities has provided $896,948 in financial help to our residential customers.
As Arizona temperatures rise and people are spending more time at home, APS offers tips to save money on summer electric bills. Customers have an array of options that can help save money while staying cool and safe at home.
For the fourth year in a row, Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals (YP) has recognized Basin Electric as one of the Top 10 Places to Work for Young Professionals.
Black Hills Corp. announced that its Nebraska natural gas utility, Black Hills Nebraska Gas, LLC, doing business as Black Hills Energy, filed a rate review application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission to consolidate rate schedules into a new, single statewide rate structure and to seek recovery for $450 million of infrastructure investments in its 13,000-mile natural gas pipeline system. 
San Antonio moved up to 5th place nationally for solar energy capacity, according to the seventh edition of an annual report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center.
El Paso Electric officially welcomes its newest cohort of eight college scholars for the Company’s 9th annual summer internship program.
Evergy is committing $2.2 million to help agencies, communities and customers respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its 2020 planned community giving to more than $8 million.
  
Two new vice presidents were recently announced by Nebraska Public Power District President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Kent. In addition, two current vice presidents were promoted. “One vice president will be over our energy production organization, and the other will be over our energy delivery organization,” Kent explained in making the appointments. “This will create more future opportunities for leadership growth and development within the organization.” Michael (Mick) Spencer was named Vice President of Energy Production and Art Wiese was named Vice President of Energy Delivery.
  
More and more people are showing interest in generating their own electricity through solar panels, wind turbines, or other sources. Omaha Public Power District now has a new and improved process to help them get started.
  
Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company,  announced the acquisition of its 13th wind project — the 56-megawatt (MW) Beech Ridge II Wind Facility — from Invenergy, a leading developer, owner and operator of sustainable energy solutions.
  
Salt River Project has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for up to 500 megawatts (MW) of wind energy. The RFI seeks response from experienced wind project developers who can provide wind energy supply from new or existing wind projects. 
  
While the wildfire season officially starts May 1, wildfire risk mitigation takes place year-round at Tucson Electric Power.
During the first week in March, Reliability Compliance Management Specialist Al Slucher connected with Vice President of Reliability and Compliance Brent Sessions. Slucher had a problem. With the eruption of COVID-19 across the western U.S., the mock audit he had been working for six months to set up at the Desert Southwest office in Phoenix, Arizona, was suddenly a big question mark.
Xcel Energy is expanding its clean energy leadership to the natural gas industry, by exploring how it could deliver renewable natural gas to customers. 
   
Wanzek Construction, Inc
   
White Paper
A team has developed a less expensive water electrolysis system that works under alkaline conditions but still produces hydrogen at comparable rates to the currently used system that works under acidic conditions and requires precious metals. This advance brings down the cost of water splitting technology, offering a more viable way to store energy from solar and wind power in the form of hydrogen fuel.