RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

I hope that you all have had a wonderful start to the new year! I’m anxious to see where this year takes us. With the continued rollout of the vaccinations and, as always, the transition to a new administration, we will find new challenges as well as opportunities. After what we all endured in 2020, I am confident we will succeed. Together, once again, we will figure it out!

Education Planning, Spring Conference & Fall Convention

RMEL’s Education Committees have already completed their January committee calls and they all have some great plans for timely and relevant content coming soon. You’ll see more updates in the coming weeks on complimentary webinars for RMEL members, as well as low cost workshops.  All indications are that virtual will remain with us through, at least, the majority of 2021. We’ve already begun planning the Fall Convention program, and will have more details about the Planning Session for the Spring Conference soon! You will receive a short Spring Conference Survey.  We understand "content is King”! Your feedback allows our planning team to provide timely and relevant educational programing.  And it goes without saying, when the opportunity presents itself to serve our membership with face-to-face programing or events, we will be ready. 

Mark your calendars and get registered for these upcoming events:

Webinar: FERC Order 2222 - Overview & Potential Impacts to T&D Networks
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 10-11 a.m. MST

The first webinar of 2021 will focus on FERC Order 2222 - Overview & Potential Impacts to T&D Networks, and will be on Thursday, February 4, 2021, 10-11 a.m. MST. This webinar will provide an overview of FERC Order 2222 that requires ISOs/RTOs to allow DER to participate in the wholesale markets they administer. This ruling will impact both distribution and transmission networks and how they are operated traditionally. Clear frameworks should be defined to enable effective coordination between the stakeholders. The webinar will provide an overview of the order and discuss some of the coordination requirements.

Webinar: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Asset Management
Thursday, February 25, 2021, 10-11 a.m. MST

This webinar will take a look at how Western Area Power Administration’s GIS program has been supporting the Asset Management’s mission in the management of data, maps, and other AM applications. WAPA’s GIS program provides support and products to almost all departments within the agency which include, but are not limited to, Natural Resources, Engineering, Public Relations, Maintenance, and Safety and Security.

Virtual Workshop: Lithium Ion Energy Storage Systems -  Failures, Fires and Explosions – Application of Best Practices

March 3, 10-11:15 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
Part 1: Lithium Ion ESS 101 – Unintended Consequences – Process failures, will review large scale fire test and real world case studies to understand how ESS systems fail and the consequences of those failures. Understanding Thermal Runaway, Propagation and gas production.    Look at reasonable anticipated events from fire to explosion. Review of what to expect from UL 9540A fire testing.  A look at the McMicken event and consequences.

March 10, 10-11:15 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
Part 2: Lithium Ion ESS 201 – Mitigation Methods and Options for Safety systems, will take the lessons learned and testing information from the unintended consequences to apply practical solutions to mitigate the failure modes of ESS.  What we can do to protect lives and safety for operators and first responders.  A silver bullet does not exist but using a phase approach we can limit the path ways to further failure.

March 17th, 10-11:15 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time
Part 3: Lithium Ion ESS 301 – Code requirements  - Then, Now and in the Future, will discuss early codes and what is currently expected from NFPA 855 and the IFC. Take a look at upcoming changes to NFPA 855 and the recommendation from the McMicken reports.  Provide recommendations on what the client should expect from the Battery manufacture, integrator, fire system and appropriate engineering studies.   

Member Programs and Benefits Continuing in 2021

As a reminder, the following new, virtual member benefits will continue in 2021:

  • Complimentary Webinars for ALL RMEL 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!

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

Please 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!

I look forward to having a great year with you all! Here’s to the future!  Stay SAFE!

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Education and Upcoming Events
RMEL Member Information
RMEL's trusted network is now accessible on Facebook, LinkedIn 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 become a 2021 RMEL Champion - DEADLINE IS MARCH 5, 2021!
   
Burns & McDonnell
   
Industry Information
  
2020 has been a year of tremendous disruption for electric utilities, and for the world in general. But while the COVID-19 pandemic may have temporarily slowed some of the larger trends driving the power sector, the overall transition to a cleaner, more distributed future continues.
  
Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated their respective Republican opponents in Georgia's Senate runoff on Wednesday, giving Democrats the majority in both chambers of Congress. 
Reaching a majority renewables grid will deploy over $1 trillion in capital investment into the U.S. economy over the next decade, according to a new study released by consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie.
  
Duke Energy Renewables announced that it is acquiring the 144-megawatt (MWac) Pflugerville Solar project from Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc.  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) extended the terms of five long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) export authorizations through 2050. 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the "Energy for Space" strategy, an outlook of policy recommendations to further DOE's role in powering the next generation of space exploration. 
In 2020, natural gas spot prices at the national benchmark Henry Hub in Louisiana averaged $2.05 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), the lowest annual average price in decades.
 
  
Vermont’s statehouse is first in the nation to have clean backup power stored in batteries – using a Green Mountain Power (GMP) program to help lower costs for all Vermonters. Vermont State officials, and leaders from Northern Reliability, Dynapower, Virtual Peaker and Green Mountain Power (GMP) were joined by state officials and legislative leaders to make the announcement this week during a virtual news conference. 
  
For 62 years the twin boilers and smokestack of the Moses Power Plant were an imposing landmark on the horizon just west of Forrest City, Ark. As of Dec. 1, the 231-acre site is, once again, an open field, save for a substation.
It seemed like everything was on fire in 2020 and, at times, that literally was true. 
   
Forbes Bros LTD.
   
Member Announcements
After a year of endless disasters, distractions and sub-zero oil prices, it’s time to look back at the people and companies that defined the energy sector in 2020. 
More than 2,000 people purchased an electric vehicle in the Austin area this year. For those in the market for one, Austin Energy’s updated EV Buyer’s Guide offers a new way to explore local new and used electric vehicle inventory online. 
Arizona Public Service Company (APS) is taking more steps to deliver on its commitment to serve one of the fastest-growing service territories in the country with 100% clean energy by 2050. 
  
Upgrades are being made to equipment associated with the high-voltage transmission line that runs from Antelope Valley Station near Beulah, North Dakota, to the Broadland substation near Huron, South Dakota. 
Black Hills Corp. 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.
CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned electric and natural gas provider based in San Antonio, is announcing a new agreement it has entered with the City of San Antonio, AT&T, and Itron, to implement a pilot for Smart Streetlight Technology. 
As EPE embarks on 120 years of service for West Texas and Southern New Mexico, we are looking forward to the future and the opportunity to transform the energy landscape. 
  
Evergy, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously appointed David A. Campbell as President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Evergy, effective January 4, 2021.
Gov. Pete Ricketts joined representatives of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Monolith Materials, and Norris Public Power District for a joint announcement regarding the facilitation of a significant addition to the renewable energy landscape in the state. The addition will provide significant short- and long-term value to Nebraska.
Omaha Public Power District customers will see no general rate increases for the fifth straight year under its 2021 Corporate Operating Plan (COP). The utility’s board of directors approved the $1.4 billion plan at its monthly meeting.
Southern Company announced Chris Cummiskey, succeeded Mark Lantrip, who is retiring after 40 years of service. 
 
Navajo Generating Station’s (NGS) three iconic 775-foot smokestacks – a Page, AZ landmark for 45 years – were demolished in a single explosive blast on Friday, falling northward like trees being felled.
 
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced contributions of $5 million, as it had previously committed to do through a resolution of the power supplier’s board of directors, to four organizations that will support communities affected by the retirement of Escalante Station in McKinley County, N.M.
New Tucson Electric Power rates that took effect on January 1 will expand bill-payment assistance for low-income customers while supporting the company’s investments in efficient new energy resources that help our community transition to a cleaner, greener energy grid.
WAPA’s Continuous Process Improvement Program continues to see increasing returns as it adds to and improves the efficiency of the organization.
   
Wanzek Construction, Inc
   
White Paper
A partial transition of German road transport to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. Researcher have examined the hypothetical transition to a hydrogen-powered transport sector through several scenarios. Their conclusion: A shift towards hydrogen-powered mobility could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly improve air quality - in particular, heavy duty vehicles represent a low-hanging fruit for decarbonization of German road transport.