RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Last year about this time, the world that we were living in was turned upside down with something none of us saw coming, thus giving new meaning to our "March Madness" reference. We used to use the metaphor of the college basketball tournament to the liking of our fast break, full court press we put on with our educational programs during the March and April months. The "madness" quickly shifted from our routine face-to-face educational conferences, to a session framed with social distancing, table spacing, elbow bumping and hand sanitizing, only to find out that wasn''t enough. Our "full court press" was now on to find how we could make this "virtual" platform work. The engagement that our members have shown, and stepped up with, over this past year has been awesome. We are excited to see what the new and improved in-person RMEL experience looks like when we can host live events again.

In the meantime, we see continued engagement from all of you through RMEL''s virtual offerings...

We just kicked off our March events with the 3-Part Virtual Workshop: Lithium Ion Energy Storage Systems -  Failures, Fires and Explosions ? Application of Best Practices with Part 1 and Part 2. Paul Hayes reviewed large scale fire test and real world case studies to help attendees understand how ESS systems fail and the consequences of those failures and more. Part 2 presented last Wednesday, focused on  Lithium Ion ESS 201 ? Mitigation Methods and Options for Safety system. To close out the series, Part 3 will be on March 17th, focusing on Lithium Ion ESS 301 ? Code requirements. You can still sign up for this workshop. You''ll receive a recording of Part 1 and 2 and can participate in the live sessions on the 17th.

Complimentary Programs in March

Presentation and Roundtable: Hydrogen and the Power Sector
Took Place on March 11, 2021 ? Get the Free Recording

Hydrogen is a versatile fuel, feedstock, and energy carrier for a host of different applications. Hydrogen can be produced in mass quantity through multiple low carbon methods and therefore promises to yield substantial results in decarbonizing a wide range of sectors, including power generation. Jason Rowell, global technology lead for Black & Veatch''s Power Business, led an overview of the burgeoning hydrogen market, including insight into production, storage, and transportation of hydrogen for the power sector.

Virtual Safety Roundtable - ATV & UTV Workplace Safety
March 18, 2021 ? 9:00-10:30 a.m. Mountain DAYLIGHT Time

During this presentation we will discuss the importance of ATV/UTV safety and education in the workplace. The following topics will be addressed and open for discussion: *History & Evolution of ATV's & UTV's *Growth of ATV's & UTV's in the Workplace *Common Accidents & Injuries *Cargo & Tow Ratings *Vehicle Loading & Unloading *PPE *Use on Public Roads and Pavement *Responsible Operators

We''ll continue adding more and more events this Spring all leading up to our Spring Conference in mid-May. Look for more details on the Spring Conference soon!

Upcoming April Leadership Workshop - Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty

"I Can See Clearly Now..." Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty
Tuesday, April 20th & Thursday, April 22nd - 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Mountain DAYLIGHT Time
REGISTRATION OPENS SOON!

RMEL is offering an online development program aimed at helping leaders enhance their ability to lead in times of uncertainty and social change...times like now. This will be instructed by John Miner, P.E., President & CEO, Collaborative Learning, Inc./Collaboration Unlimited. and Betsy Aylin, PhD, Executive and Management Consultant, Collaborative Learning, Inc./Collaboration Unlimited. Participants who complete this program will be awarded 8.0 professional development hours (PDHs). This virtual but highly interactive and engaging program is aimed at helping leaders at any level in the organization understand and better use their own strengths to lead the people they work with through this time of uncertainty and change. This online program is structured in two online half-day sessions of approximately 4 hours each.  Pre-program requirements will enable the course to start quickly, ensuring comfort with the technology being used and framing the interests of the participants.  The program is highly interactive and will include working with small learning groups, skill practice, discussion and other ways to engage with the content.  

Nominate a 2021 RMEL Emerging Leader by March 19th

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.

2021 RMEL Spring Conference

Mark your calendars for May to participate in the 2021 RMEL Spring Conference. We are finalizing topics, speakers and schedules. The virtual platform and registration information is COMING SOON! 

Thank you!

I want to close by thanking everyone who helped us promote the 2021 RMEL Foundation Scholarship Program. The deadline was this past Friday, and we received a lot of great applications. It''s always exciting to get a glimpse of the future through the perspective of these high school and college student essays. We''ll be announce the 2021 scholarship recipients at the Spring Conference. Thank you all again for supporting the future of the industry!

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Education and Upcoming Events

Virtual Workshop - Lithium Ion Energy Storage Systems --- March 17, 2021 (Recordings from Parts 1 and Parts to Available)
Virtual Safety Roundtable - ATV & UTV Workplace Safety --- March 18, 2021
Virtual Workshop - Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty --- April 20 & 22, 2021 (Registration Opens Soon)
2021 Virtual Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference --- May 2021 (Registration Opens Soon)

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. Thank you 2021 RMEL Champions!
   
Burns & McDonnell
   
Industry Information
  
More than 2,100 MWh of energy storage systems came online in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2020, marking a 182% increase over the previous quarter and setting a new record for the industry, according to a report from Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA).
  
The Government of British Columbia says it is acting to address the challenges facing the 1,100-MW Site C hydroelectric project, under construction on the Peace River, from COVID-19 and other factors to ensure the project is completed safely.
At least $14 trillion needs to be invested in the grid worldwide by 2050 to support an evolved power system, according to BloombergNEF’s new Power Grid Long-Term Outlook 2021 published this week.
 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy announced a Notice of Sale of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
We must be ready to reliably meet the energy needs of our customers every day, regardless of the weather. 24 by 7 by 365 is more than a motto; it's what our customers and communities depend on each and every day. Our job is to ensure reliability and security for customers.
As of December 2020, the states with the most small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity were California (10.6 gigawatts (GW)), New Jersey (1.9 GW), and Massachusetts (1.8 GW). Of the 4.5 GW of small-scale solar capacity added in the United States in 2020, California accounted for 31%, the largest share by far. 
FedEx Corp. announced this week that it wants to achieve carbon-neutral operations globally by 2040. The company laid out three key areas it will focus on via a $2B investment: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration. 
  
Why molten salt reactors could offer a revolution in clean energy. The world has undergone the largest decrease of global poverty in the past few decades. Over 100 million people have been connected to the electric power grid every year since 2010.
  
The history of the oil and gas business in the United States is that every time the “experts” all line up to declare it to be dead, it finds a way to come roaring back. 
  
Six major utilities have announced a plan to ensure that electric vehicle (EV) drivers have access to a seamless network of charging stations connecting major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast through the Midwest and South and into the Gulf Coast and Central Plains regions.
Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) released additional details regarding the impacts from the extreme cold weather during February on its utility businesses and customers. 
Member Announcements
Austin City Council approved $10 million in emergency bill relief for customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of Winter Storm Uri or COVID-19. The approved funding is effective immediately and is made possible through a combination of rate reductions, utility bill credits and a funding infusion to the Plus 1 - Customer Assistance Program from Austin Water and Austin Energy. 
Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), an owner and operator of the Four Corners Power Plant, announced plans of an agreement among plant owners Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC), Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), Salt River Project (SRP) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to move toward operating the plant seasonally beginning fall 2023, subject to necessary approvals.
After a full year of operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Basin Electric employees will have opportunities to be vaccinated later this month.
CPS Energy continues to fight for customers to keep their bills affordable while pursuing prudent business practices that ensure the utility and San Antonio remain financially stable and strong.
El Paso Electric (EPE) is proud to welcome General Motors (GM) to EPE’s GoEV Savings Program. GM is offering several thousand dollars in discounts on the 2020 and 2021 Chevrolet Bolt.
Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) announced that it has entered into agreements with Bluescape Energy Partners LLC (“Bluescape”) and Elliott Investment Management L.P. (“Elliott”) and certain of their respective affiliates. 
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) has been recognized once again as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. 
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors held their virtual monthly committee and regular board meetings back-to-back this afternoon. 
Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is issuing a request for proposal
(RFP) for any and all forms of electric generation and innovative technologies to power our customers
and transition our energy mix to 100 percent emissions-free.
Engineers, historian and environmentalist excel in male-dominant careers; hope to inspire others.
New Mexico State University is partnering with Tri-State Generation and Transmission to join the Electric Power Research Institute’s National Demonstration and Monitoring of Indoor Food Production Facilities research project to explore indoor agriculture concepts.
  
After a nationwide search, United Power’s Board of Directors has named Mark A. Gabriel as President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization effective March 15, 2021.
Western Area Power Administration released its 2021 State of WAPA’s Assets. Since 2014, this forward-looking document has provided customers with an outline of WAPA’s upcoming capital investments and key initiatives for managing the $5.6 billion asset base entrusted to the organization.
  
Xcel Energy on Tuesday announced plans to invest $1.7 billion in transmission in order to unlock 5,500 MW of largely new renewables projects in its Colorado footprint.
For several years now, the biofuels that power cars, jet airplanes, ships and big trucks have come primarily from corn and other mass-produced farm crops. Researchers at USC, though, have looked to the ocean for what could be an even better biofuel crop: seaweed.