RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

In June, how many of you all thought the end of the year would NEVER get here? Now, here we are, on our final countdown and ready to say goodbye to the infamous 2020, a year unlike any other. Though we close the year with many uncertainties of what lies ahead, we are able to see some light at the end of the tunnel (and I am confident it won't be a train)! With a vaccine on the near horizon, and the election pretty much behind us – along with the increased focus on inclusion and collaboration – there is hope we are getting closer to the next "new normal." Let us never lose sight of what our industry has accomplished. We were able to shift work practices to serve our communities reliably and efficiently, and we continue to implement new technologies to meet customer needs and expectations – all accomplished while maintaining a safe work environment!

RMEL has felt the impacts of 2020, made adjustments and will continue to discover new ways to serve its membership. We'll continue offering complimentary webinars to members in 2021, and we are working through our Education Committees to identify and provide more skills-based virtual workshops (like the one we are hosting next week on Project Management). Members will receive significant discounts on those workshops. We understand that relevant and timely content is everything, and we will continue to find inspiring keynote speakers and technical experts to help make you and your employees' jobs easier during these uncertain times. One thing the virtual venue provides is an opportunity for more employees to connect, and we saw that at the 2020 Fall Convention, where attendance tripled from previous years. We want to make this the most effective and collaborative experience possible, and we want to help you connect with other utilities to get your questions answered. We will once again offer group packages to both the Spring Conference and the Fall Convention in 2021, offering unlimited registrations for your employees.

Surveys & Planning Sessions for the 2021 Spring Conference and 2021 Fall Convention

All indications are that virtual will remain with us through, at least, the majority of 2021. When the opportunity presents itself to serve our membership with face-to-face programming or events, we will be ready. For now, we are preparing for the virtual format for our 2021 Spring Conference and 2021 Fall Convention. We will be hosting virtual planning sessions for each of these events in January. We will first focus on the Spring Conference. You will receive a short survey from us next week. We want to know what engineering and/or operational challenges you anticipate in 2021, and what solutions can we help provide in the upcoming new year. We understand "content is king!" PLEASE take a few minutes to complete this survey. Your feedback is important to us. 

December 2020 RMEL Events

As we round out 2020, I want to make sure you can take advantage of the remaining RMEL events this year!

December 8-10, 10-11:30 a.m. MST
Virtual 3-Part Workshop  –  Project Management Essentials: Initiation, Execution, and Delivery
This 3-part workshop will cover project initiation and planning, including specifics on project initiation and project planning and the major tasks and specific steps a project manager should take to effectively plan for and initiate a project. It will also cover execution monitoring and controls, including essential, basic methods of successful project management for clients and subconsultants alike. No matter the work type, every project requires a concentrated set of project management skills to successfully plan and execute. Part 3 will cover and delivery models, including engineering services vs. EPS contractor management. Specifically, instructors will touch on different types of delivery models, including design-bid-build, EPC, open book GMP, progressive and lump sum design-build, and integrated project delivery. Get full details on each day of the workshop.

December 10, 9:00-10:30 a.m. MST
Complimentary Webinar/Roundtable: How Thermal Storage Can Extend the Life of Your Plant While Enabling a Low Carbon Future
Finding long-duration bulk energy storage solutions will be the key to addressing intermittency issues of renewable generation. While Li-Ion batteries has become established as a viable solution for short-duration storage, there is a lot of effort and creativity taking place in identifying options for longer-duration options. RMEL's Generation Committee will be hosting a series of four monthly virtual roundtables to explore some of the most promising alternatives that are currently being developed. Each session is scheduled for 1 hour and 30 minutes and will consist of a 30-40 minute presentation, followed by an open-ended discussion by all participants. Due to the desired participant involvement, we may need to limit the attendance to ensure the discussion is productive for everyone.

Promote the 2021 RMEL Foundation Scholarship Opportunity by Sharing the Application With Industry and Academic Contacts

Help spread the word about RMEL Foundation Scholarship opportunities! The 2021 RMEL Foundation Scholarship Deadline is February 26, 2021. RMEL member companies are the primary avenue by which these scholarships are promoted. The Foundation encourages all RMEL members to share this opportunity throughout your company and your community.

Students from all parts of the RMEL service territory are encouraged to apply. Recipients are chosen by the RMEL Foundation selection committee. Access the Application on the RMEL Foundation Scholarship Page and Send us Your University and College Contacts. We appreciate you helping to build the future of the industry!

Holiday Wishes from RMEL to You!

Thank you again for all that you've done this year. More than ever before, I wish you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas! Have a very happy and safe holiday season!

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Industry Information
  
A record-breaking 476 MW of storage resources were deployed in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2020 – a 240% increase over the previous record, which was set in the previous quarter – a December report from Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) found.
The U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Mark Christie and Allison Clements to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, bringing the commission to its full, five-member complement of commissioners for the first time in nearly two years. The confirmation came on a voice vote, FERC said.
  
A new report forecasts that with the right drivers in place, the installed capacity of floating windpower will grow from the existing 100 MW to 250 GW in 2050 – a 2000-fold increase.
The CEO of Ocean Energy Europe (OEE), Rémi Gruet and the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Francesco La Camera, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference & Exhibition.
  
ScottMadden, Inc., one of North America’s leading management consulting firms specializing in energy, recently released its latest edition of The ScottMadden Energy Industry Update (EIU). Themed “Running Up That Hill,” this report explores how the energy industry is attempting to do extraordinary things in extraordinary times.
Commercial buildings have gotten larger in the United States as their floor space continues to grow faster than the number of commercial buildings, according to preliminary results from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).
 
  
Over time, utility providers have rolled out increasingly advanced digitally connected devices to make their service infrastructure more efficient. One such product is the smart meter.
Earlier this week NRG Energy received federal approval for its estimated $3.6 billion all-cash acquisition of retail electricity distribution firm Direct Energy.
  
Twenty-five named tropical storms in 2020? A global pandemic making business air travel as scarce as a first-class upgrade used to be? What could be worse? According to Mike Rowand, director for technology development at Duke Energy, it could soon be "spreadsheet" buying of electric cars, trucks, and buses by fleet owners wanting to connect massive new electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to your transmission and distribution (T&D) system.
After six years of regulatory reviews, lawsuits and pushback by environmental groups, Enbridge’s $2.6 billion pipeline replacement project in northern Minnesota is set to begin construction after receiving all permits and approvals, the Star Tribune reported.
   
Forbes Bros LTD.
   
Member Announcements
Nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses rely on us for safe, reliable power. And we deliver – ranking within the top 25% of electric utilities across the nation for frequency of outages in 11 of the past 12 years and within the top 25% for duration of outages in 9 of the past 12 years.
The goal of Energy and Natural Resources Day was to provide information about how energy and natural resources and their economics impact the Bismarck-Mandan community.
Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) announced that the company has completed construction on its $79 million Corriedale Wind Energy Project near Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the project is producing wind energy for customers who subscribed to its Renewable Ready Program.
The profile of Rush Springs Energy Storage is rather unassuming – nine storage containers filled with thousands of the sort of battery modules you’d find in a laptop computer – but the site could have a groundbreaking impact on the future of renewable energy in the region.
PacifiCorp jointly announced an important agreement with the states of California and Oregon, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes that we believe will overcome the remaining obstacles to advance the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and complete the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. history.
  
Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, announced that the 136-megawatt (MW) Skookumchuck Wind Facility in Lewis and Thurston Counties, Washington, is now operational.
  
Researchers at Northern Arizona University (NAU) are using drones, airplanes and state-of-the-art laser scanning technology to conduct forest assessments around C.C. Cragin Reservoir.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association would more than double its currently contracted solar and wind resources by 2030, add energy storage, and reduce emissions to help meet the needs of its member electric cooperatives and public power districts, in the “preferred scenario” of its Electric Resource Plan (ERP) filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
The Rocky Mountain region is participating in a pilot program designed to meet swings in generation within the Western Area Colorado-Missouri, or WACM, Balancing Authority. The program – a partnership between WAPA and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association – allows WACM to use Craig Powerplant in Craig, Colorado, as a source of power in the case of system disruption or generation shortfall.
Xcel Energy was recognized by PA Consulting as a recipient of the 2020 ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Plains suburban/rural service area – recognizing the very best suburban/rural service area investor owned utilities in the United States.
   
Wanzek Construction, Inc
   
White Paper
Inspired by nature, researchers at The City College of New York (CCNY) can demonstrate a synthetic strategy to stabilize bio-inspired solar energy harvesting materials.