RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

I think you all would agree that saying this has been a challenging year would be an understatement. I hope this Thanksgiving Holiday season, we can put the tumultuous year aside for a moment, and pause to reflect on those things we should be thankful for. First, of course, our family and friends. Next, it is an opportunity to give thanks to those paths we have crossed in both our personal and professional lives. 

I want to sincerely THANK YOU and your organization for your continued participation with RMEL. We are all in these interesting times together, and adapting in various ways, professionally and personally. I am especially appreciative of how our industry continues to forge ahead. I really value the conversations between members (virtually, for now) and how y'all are continuing to help each other find and share solutions. Thank you for letting RMEL and the RMEL community be a part of that. 

The shift to the "Virtual World” has provided us with new found opportunities. We are thankful for the broader reach of participation we have seen from our utility companies. RMEL’s utility member participation has DOUBLED this year. We are gaining proficiency in utilizing the virtual platform in our educational offerings. I want to highlight what the RMEL Board and Education Committees are committing to you all for 2021, at this time. I say "at this time” because we are constantly looking for new ways to connect members, and I’m confident we will add to this list. 

The following member benefits will continue in 2021:

  • Complimentary Webinars for ALL members! We will continue to provide complimentary webinars (and PDH certificates) in 2021 to engage all of your employees.
  • Discounted Workshops Available! A more intensive dive into virtual technical training offerings at a discounted rate.
  • Relevant and Timely Content - The RMEL Education Section Committees, Board of Directors and the RMEL membership will stay engaged and focused on keeping content and educational venues timely and relevant to what’s happening in the industry, so you can be sure that RMEL programing is a solid investment of your time.
  • Spring Conference and Fall Convention Corporate Registration Packages - In addition to the discounted Fall and Spring registration fees, all RMEL members will be able to purchase Corporate registration packages for the Spring Conference and Fall Convention. This seemed to work really well for the 2020 Virtual Fall Convention, so we want to keep that going.
  • Library of recorded webinars and other useful videos (complimentary for RMEL members) - we are going to continue to add to the library of On Demand Webinars; additionally, we are going to start posting helpful technical videos from members - more on that soon!
  • PLUS MORE when we are allowed to meet in person again. We will be READY!

Additionally, we are thankful for the solid year of scholarship fundraising our members provided the RMEL Foundation during this year. Thank you for the Corporate and Individual Cash Donations that hit a record high.  Thanks to Holy Cross Energy for joining the list of 2021 Named Scholarship sponsors. Please help us spread the word about the 2021 RMEL Foundation Scholarship! Applications are due by February 26, 2021. Get more details here.

Wishing you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

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Industry Information
  
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other mayors from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia unveiled last week the "Marshall Plan for Middle America," a $60 billion blueprint to help the region transition away from fossil fuels toward a greener, more sustainable economy.
  
Swedish wave energy firm CorPower Ocean is set to unleash a new project in the Atlantic Ocean off Portugal after securing a 10-year license. 
  
A new material for wind blades that can be recycled could transform the wind industry, rendering renewable energy more sustainable than ever before while lowering costs in the process.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy, in collaboration with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Science, announced a request for information (RFI) about “enhanced weathering” research opportunities that could lead to advances in the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).
NY Green Bank, a division of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), announced its strongest third quarter since inception with the release of its Quarterly Metrics Report. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NY Green Bank has remained committed to its mission, executing 16 clean energy and sustainable infrastructure transactions representing $165.9 million in new investments in the second and third quarters, bringing its total commitments to $1.1 billion. 
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When people think about electricity as a transportation fuel, they normally think about it in the context of moving people around by electric cars, trucks, mass transit and buses. However, there also is a growing interest in electricity as a more efficient and cost-effective transportation fuel for moving things, like shipping freight, last-mile delivery of goods and even powering seaports.
 
   
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Electric vehicle (EV) drivers will now be able to spend less time charging their vehicle thanks to Austin Energy's installation of 24 new fast chargers across Austin.
Customers of Arizona Public Service Company (APS) will soon power their homes and businesses with more clean energy. Earlier this year, APS announced a bold commitment to deliver 100% clean, carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. 
CO2Concrete™ is the first finalist competing for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE to complete its technology demonstration. The testing began this spring and was finished in October at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center (ITC) at Basin Electric’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette, Wyoming.
CPS Energy and VIA Metropolitan Transit announce details about a new fuel supply partnership that will provide Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) created by landfill biogas to VIA’s fleet of over 500 buses, beginning in 2021.
The Borderplex Alliance announced Kelly A. Tomblin will serve on its executive committee. Ms. Tomblin is the new chief executive officer of El Paso Electric and a global business leader. 
Evergy’s Board and management are committed to serving the best interests of ALL Evergy shareholders and stakeholders. Our focus is on the execution of the Company’s Sustainability Transformation Plan (“STP”), which the Board unanimously determined is the option that creates the highest, most certain value for shareholders and benefits for our stakeholders.
Lincoln Electric System recently earned Gold Level recognition from the American Heart Association on its Workplace Health Achievement Index. The recognition comes for taking significant steps toward building a culture of health and wellness within the workplace.
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Following two years of public discussions and surveys, numerous studies and reports, and energy mix modeling on multiple levels, the Platte River Power Authority Board of Directors approved the utility’s 2020 integrated resource plan (IRP).
 
PNM and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC), announced the signing of an agreement for PNM to exit from the Four Corners Power Plant seven years early. The agreement unlocks an approximate $100 million in customer savings and provides approximately $16 million in economic aid funds to the Navajo Nation if approved by regulators.
  
SRP has created a new program that allows residential customers to invest $3 a month towards strategic forest thinning projects to help reduce the risk and devastating impacts of catastrophic wildfire and protect the health of the watersheds that provide water to the Valley.
Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (“Algonquin” or “the Company”) (TSX/NYSE:AQN), parent company of Liberty Utilities and Liberty Power, is announcing a US$500,000 donation to support communities within its service territories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Tri-State will be submitting a “preferred scenario” to reduce emissions associated with its wholesale electricity sales in Colorado by 80% by 2030. 
 
United Power dispatched a crew to Granby to assist Mountain Parks Electric in its rebuild effort after receiving significant damage from the East Troublesome Fire in late October. United Power joins four other cooperatives as part of the rebuild in coordination with the Colorado Rural Electric Association.
  
Tucson Electric Power's lineworkers keep power flowing to homes and businesses. While many people have seen our crews working in bucket trucks or climbing poles, most don’t know how hard they’ve worked to get there.
Scientists call it “Solar Cycle 25,” and WAPA is getting ready for it. According to a recent NASA press release, researchers believe that the sun passed its cyclical minimum of solar activity in December 2019, and a new period of potential solar outbursts has begun.
Xcel Energy announced it is donating $76,000 to six Colorado nonprofit and community partners committed to equity and justice in our communities. The money is part of a larger $500,000 commitment to organizations across the company’s entire service territory and will be used for scholarships, educational support and support for social programs.
   
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With a new material, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can be specifically separated from industrial waste gases, natural gas, or biogas, and thereby made available for recycling. The separation process is both energy efficient and cost-effective.