RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Most of us approached this new year with a positive perspective and optimism of what this year might bring.  Afterall, how can we not go “up” after all we experienced last year?  I am proud to say with a month in the books, we have seen some positive trends take place.  We are seeing a series of vaccines roll out, which we hope will bring us back together soon.  On our membership side, renewals are exceeding expectations, greater than we forecasted.  With that, I would like to welcome S&C Electric Company and SeeKing HR to the RMEL family.  S&C has been a long standing figure in the industry helping utilities with reliable grid solutions.  SeeKing provides its clients expertise through a broad range of HR consulting solutions.  We look forward to their participation. 

The RMEL Champions participation has been steady, which makes us believe that some services and supplier companies are waiting to jump in when the opportunity to meet together returns.  In the meantime, RMEL will commit to continue to find opportunities to keep our Champions and vendor members in front of our utilities. The deadline to become a 2021 RMEL Champion is March 5th - click here for more details!

Participation in our webinars has continued to increase this year, as our Education Committees integrate more of the technical content into our programing.  I encourage all of you to share any training needs/topics with us so we can get them into the hands of the appropriate committee. 

2021 Spring Conference & Educational Programing

Preparations continue for a Virtual Spring Conference.  I will be sending you a short Spring Conference Survey that we will ask you to complete.  We understand “content is King”!  Your feedback allows our planning team to provide timely and relevant educational programing.  We will have more details about the Planning Session for the Spring Conference content soon!

Mark your calendars and get registered for these upcoming events:

Webinar: Knowing and Understanding Why Dogs Bite
Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 10-11:30 a.m. MST

As a utility, many of our personnel are required to perform field work to serve our customers. On occasion, the environment can pose a hazardous situation if not prepared. Maybe it is a late night, and we find ourselves in situations when we are face-to-face with the "family pet". It is not just the postman that needs to be wary of dogs. What is the safety plan you have in place for pre-attack avoidance techniques? This webinar will offer practical and preventive measures to help prevent dog bites while in the field.

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.    

2021 RMEL Emerging Leader Program

Nominate a next-generation leader for a 2021 RMEL Emerging Leader Award by March 19th. The nominee must have a minimum of 5 years of experience, and no more than 10 years’ experience within the industry.  Recipients are provided development opportunities through a variety of interactions with past and current Emerging Leader Award recipients, the RMEL Board and exclusive workforce strategy sessions with Spring Keynote Speakers, all to hone their leadership skills and experiences.

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!

The future is bright, my friends! I look forward to seeing y’all (virtually for now) soon.  Stay SAFE!

Burns & McDonnell
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!
Industry Information
National Grid’s Sandy Pond High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station imports hydroelectric power from the north of Canada for distribution in the northeastern United States. The thyristor valve hall is a 5-story building the size of a soccer field which converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) at the station.
Alliant Energy on Tuesday announced it would retire its 1,100 MW Columbia Energy Center, making the company's subsidiary Wisconsin Power & Light coal-free by 2025.
Florida Power & Light Company announced that construction has begun on the FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center, which is expected to become the world’s largest integrated solar-powered battery system, according to the company.
Southwest Power Pool (SPP) on Monday began operating its new Western Energy Imbalance Services (WEIS) market, kicking off the real-time balancing market with a half dozen regional utilities participating.
As dam assets age, accurate monitoring becomes increasingly important to ensure safety. With the impact of broad trends such as increasing urbanization and global warming, the challenges facing dam owners and the potential consequences of failure are mounting.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to $15 million in federally funded financial assistance for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002402, Carbon Capture R&D: Bench-Scale Testing of Direct Air Capture Components (TRL 3) and Initial Engineering Design for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Systems from Air (TRL 6).
In recognition of their shared objectives to increase the uptake of renewable energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) have signed a formal partnership agreement.
Innovative silicon solutions provider HPQ Silicon Resources Inc. (“HPQ” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: HPQ; FWB: UGE; Other OTC : HPQFF), is proud to announce the sixth renewal of its agreement with Apollon Solar SAS (“Apollon”) to continue developing nanoscale and porous silicon materials for energy storage, hydrogen production and high value-added applications.
The Annual Energy Outlook presents an assessment by the U.S. Energy Information Administration of the outlook for energy markets through 2050.
The National Carbon Capture Center has announced the “first fire” of its new natural gas infrastructure, paving the way for the first test runs of carbon capture technologies using actual natural gas-derived flue gas.
The $169,000 Lucid Air is coming this spring, and Peter Rawlinson claims it’ll be the fastest, longest-range electric vehicle on the planet. He should know. A decade ago, he engineered Tesla’s Model S.
More than 12,000 FirstEnergy employees show up to work each day to ensure power is delivered safely and efficiently to more than six million customers across its six-state service area. 
Meeting the climate goals of President Joe Biden will require setting a national cost for carbon pollution and spending heavily on social programs to assist Americans hurt by the clean-energy transition.
Wanzek Construction, Inc
Member Announcements
In the year since Arizona Public Service (APS) announced its bold commitment to serve customers with 100% clean, carbon-free energy by 2050, the company has made steady progress toward that goal. 
Basin Electric was an inaugural participant in Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Western Energy Imbalance Services (WEIS) market, which was launched at midnight Feb. 1. 
El Paso Electric (EPE) customers now have 13,500 reasons why they should leave the gas tank behind and plug-in to a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future all while saving several thousand dollars along the way.
Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) announced Kirk Andrews will become the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective Feb. 22, 2021. Andrews fills the role currently held by Tony Somma, who announced his plans to depart the company on January 8.
Lincoln Electric System’s Sustainable Energy Program is returning in 2021 with $1.25 million in incentive funds.
irst Student, Inc., First Transit, Inc., and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC announced they have entered into a framework agreement and are working toward a joint venture to pursue the electrification of tens of thousands of school and public transportation vehicles across the U.S. and Canada.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge in 2020, Platte River took measures that emphasized staff safety and system reliability. 
Very few know the streets in town as well as a PNM meter reader. Each one walks an
average of 8-10 miles per day and drives 20-40 miles per day, collectively, reading about 567,000 electric meters statewide per month.
Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, has been awarded two 20-year power purchase agreements by Southern California Edison (SCE) and is adding battery-based energy storage resources at both Southern Power’s Tranquillity Solar Facility and Garland Solar Facility in California.
Salt River Project’s Multifamily Solutions Program is designed to help multifamily communities become more energy efficient. 
The real-time balancing market is the latest of SPP’s contract-based Western Energy Services to be implemented in the Western Interconnection and is expected to lower wholesale electricity costs, increase price transparency, and mitigate congestion on the transmission system for market participants.
Tucson Electric Power’s service was more reliable last year than ever before as we rose to the challenge of serving our customers’ energy needs amid record-setting heat and a public health crisis.
On Jan. 29, Western Area Power Administration met its commitment to customers and stakeholders to update The Source with financial and operational information for the past fiscal year, which included returning $272.3 million to the U.S. Treasury, totaling nearly $2.6 billion over the past eight years. 
Xcel Energy is seeking proposals to add approximately 500 megawatts of new large-scale solar near the existing Sherco Power Plant in Becker, Minn.
White Paper
A material that can be used in technologies such as solar power has been found to self-heal, a new study shows. The findings -- from the University of York -- raise the prospect that it may be possible to engineer high-performance self-healing materials which could reduce costs and improve scalability, researchers say.