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RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

We are so excited to host RMEL’s Virtual 2021 Spring Management, Engineering & Operations Conference in just one week…May 18-20. Get full details about the robust program of timely & relevant sessions by downloading the brochure or visiting the Conference Grid online. 

Here are some quick links:

Former U.S. Navy SEAL Rear Admiral Scott Moore to Keynote RMEL's 2021 Spring Conference

Having served 30 years as a SEAL leader, retired Rear Admiral Scott Moore is a master in organizational leadership and teambuilding. He served in every leadership position in the SEAL teams, including the former commander of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and closed out his career as the number two leader in the entire SEAL organization. He led the military’s elite forces through more than 2,000 of our nation’s most extreme, high-stakes missions and was deployed on SEAL team operations across the globe. He understands the importance of leadership and cohesiveness like few others can, and his experience runs the gamut from leading small groups to large-scale tactical planning. From the mountains of Afghanistan to briefings in the Oval Office, Moore is the man our leaders trusted when failure was not an option. Moore shares what it takes to lead high-performing teams. Believing that the art of leadership is empowering an organization’s ground-level employees to drive solutions and results, he focuses on how to tailor leadership to different groups, build truly cohesive teams, and develop real trust – the ultimate key to success. What makes the Navy SEALs so effective is also what makes them difficult to lead, and Moore offers a practical framework for leadership that works and shows audiences how to apply his insights to their own organizations with military precision. Larger than life, his presentations are a hard-hitting look into what makes the SEAL teams effective, told through exciting and entertaining stories that leave audiences on the edges of their seats. Read Admiral Moore's Full Bio.

May 20th Keynote Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., CEO & Founder, MyWorkplaceHealth - Enhancing Individual & Organizational Change: Actionable Steps to Cultivate Psychologically Healthy & Safe Work Environments

The global pandemic has underscored the critical importance of enhancing our psychological health, wellness and resilience - as individuals, and as organizations. Statistics don't lie - in 2017, the World Health Organization identified mental health issues as being the leading cause of global disability. Over the past 8 months, we have witnessed increased rates of alcohol use, rates of depression have doubled, and rates of anxiety have quadrupled. Now, more than ever, we have a critical imperative to take action. In this session, you will learn evidence-based, actionable steps that can be taken to enhance the psychological health and safety of work environments; equip our people leaders with the skills, strategies and approaches to effectively support the workforce; and steps to enhance your own personal wellness and resilience. Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. is a national thought leader on issues relating to psychological health, wellness and resilience. She is the CEO & Founder of MyWorkplaceHealth, a full-suite national workplace consulting firm and Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych & Associates, an in-office and online (virtual) clinical counselling practice with offices located throughout BC. Learn More About Dr. Samra.

Get full details at http://www.rmel.org/spring! We hope to "see” you at the Spring Conference soon!

Congratulations to All 2021 Emerging Leader Nominees – Winners Will be Announced During the Spring Conference!

When the Emerging Leader Awards Program was first developed back in 2014, it was because the RMEL Board of Directors was in awe of what their new employees were already accomplishing in early careers. They wanted a way to recognize people with 5-10 years of experience in the electric energy industry who were showing up in a big way for their organizations and for the entire industry! It’s these rising leaders who will set the course for how we all stay resilient in any and all circumstances. These folks see the challenges, roll up their sleeves and do the hard work. That’s going to take them far, and it will be exciting to see what these new leaders accomplish. The Board of Directors wanted a way to recognize them NOW. The high number of applicants each year is a testament that these people are all across the industry. This year, we wanted to recognize not only the winners (who will be announced at the Spring Conference),but all of the nominees because there’s some tough competition out there. To even be nominated for this Award is a great honor from the companies that sent in the application. I am very happy to present to you now, ALL 2021 RMEL Emerging Leader Award Nominees:

Rebecca Afsar
Asset Management Civil Engineer, Western Area Power Administration
7 Years in the Industry
Civil Engineer in WAPA's Office of Asset Planning and Management where she is responsible for transmission line assets and the asset consequence scoring process.

Royal Antles
Mechanic Specialist, Colorado Springs Utilities
7 Years in the Industry
Journey level mechanic specialist for Colorado Springs Utilities Energy Supply Department. Provides mechanical maintenance for multiple sites throughout Energy Supply including coal plants, natural gas plants, and hydroelectric facilities.

Andrew Astudillo
Interim Senior Manager, CPS Energy
8 Years in the Industry
Serves as Generation Duty Officer for the Power Generation team

Tyler Bain
Planning Engineer II, United Power, Inc.
8 Years in the Industry
Performs studies for new and existing members to determine their impact and identify when loads exceed the capacity of the existing infrastructure.

Dave Bowen
Technology Innovation Manager, Ulteig
6 Years in the Industry
Technology Innovation Manager and member of the Power Technical Services business unit. Leads emerging technology efforts, including partnering with industry technology leaders, developing and testing new technology applications.

Scott Clausen
Project Engineer, Burns & McDonnell
6 Years in the Industry
Project manager for the FirstEnergy substation design team, overseeing five multidiscipline engineers and drafters. He has completed 37 projects worth more than $4.1 million in revenue in the last three years.

Grist Devriese
Project Engineer, POWER Engineers, Inc.
7 Years in the Industry
Project Engineer for one of POWER’s largest clients, successfully growing and leading a team of twenty engineers for the last three years.

Alejandra Doresky
Renewable Energy and Distributed Energy Proposal Manager, Black & Veatch
6 Years in the Industry
Lead the pursuit team and provide input to pursuit strategy, technical solutions, preparation and submittal of EPC Distributed Energy and Renewable Energy solutions to meet client's needs.

Michael Eugenis
Supervisor, System Protection, Arizona Public Service
6 Years in the Industry
Supervisor of System Protection Engineering group which is tasked with engineering protective relay settings throughout APS's Transmission and Sub-transmission systems. He also is responsible for ensuring Regulatory compliance with multiple NERC requirements.

John Hansen
Transmission Maintenance Field Support Supervisor, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association
7 Years in the Industry
Manages a team of technical support specialists that works closely with transmission maintenance management helping to develop, maintain and improve standard field operations and maintenance practices.

Kaitlyn Honey
Manager, Equipment & System Analytics, Xcel Energy
9 Years in the Industry
Responsible for leading a team of engineers to implement transformational change across the organization through standard and optimized maintenance practices, expansion of condition based maintenance, and integration of advanced analytics into business processes to optimize risk versus cost across power generation facilities.

Luke Karels
Power Delivery Project Manager Department Manager, Stanley Consultants
9 Years in the Industry
Manages 11 of the firm’s top power delivery senior project/program managers. Part of Stanley Consultants’ new Project Management Center of Excellence (PMCE).

Jenny Jones
Senior Environmental Analyst, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
9 Years in the Industry
Acting supervisor of the Land and Water Resources Team. Her tenure as AECI started as a college intern and progressed to be a Senior Environmental Analyst.

Chris Marquez
Electrical and Instrumentation Manager, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
5 Years in the Industry
Provides leadership, technical direction, and general oversight of electrical and instrumentation shops at the New Madrid Power Plant, a two unit, 1200 MW generation site located in Marston, MO.

Kate McDevitt
Associate Engineer II, Electrical Consultants, Inc.
10 Years in the Industry
Associate Engineer II in ECI’s Civil/Structural Department. As a team lead, Kate is responsible for the civil design on a myriad of substation projects, overseeing engineering designs and project schedules.

Nicholas Miller
Engineering Supervisor, Colorado Springs Utilities
9 Years in the Industry
Supervisor of the Performance and Reliability Unit within the Operating Engineering Group of the Energy Supply Department of Colorado Springs Utilities.

Peter Ottoson
Supervisor, Engineering Projects, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
7 Years in the Industry
Supervisor of Engineering Projects within the Power Production division of Associated. In this role, he supervises six team members with expertise in electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering.

Bradley Palu
Corporate Safety Manager, Nebraska Public Power District
8 Years in the Industry
Provides strategic direction, leadership, and oversight to ensure NPPD achieves continuous improvement in all aspects of safety as measured by industry benchmarks.

Lukas Rowland
Electrical Engineer, HDR
8 Years in the Industry
Lead project engineer or project manager on a wide variety of battery storage projects ranging from 500 kilowatts to 100 megawatts.

Matthew Scoffone
Senior Consulting Engineer, TG Advisers, Inc.
10 Years in the Industry
Senior consultant, where he provides engineering analysis related to turbine and generators for utilities worldwide. This includes direct client interface onsite during inspections, followed by engineering analysis, and then presentation of results.

Daniel Sierra
Substation Business Development Manager, Burns & McDonnell
8 Years in the Industry
Substation business development manager for the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) Group. Responsible for the overall management of substation business development, marketing and positioning for emerging business opportunities.

If you know any of these individuals, please thank them and congratulate them for being nominated. Thank you to everyone who sent in a nomination this year!

2021 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament

After taking a COVID-year hiatus, the 2021 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament will be held June 23rd, 2021, at Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, CO! We have sure missed seeing everyone in person, and as we all navigate the vaccination rollout, travel restrictions and all the "next normals,” we want to start getting back to what we do best, in-person networking and education. For those that are able to participate it will be a great time to see some familiar and new faces in an open environment.

Commonwealth delivers a wider range of services than ever before…
Commonwealth Associates, Inc. ®
Fire Hardening, Drone Services, Tower Modeling, Owners Engineering, T-Line Design, Substation Design, Protection & Controls, Commissioning, Compliance, Project Development, Safety & Site Security, Planning Studies, Land & Right-of-Way, Power Flow Studies, Environmental & Permitting 
Learn More!
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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!
   
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Industry Information
  
The cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline illustrates how difficult it will be for electric utilities to protect their grids from disruption, experts say, even when attacks are primarily targeting information technology (IT) systems.
  
Chelan PUD and GE Renewable Energy have reached an agreement to modernize Powerhouse II at the 624-MW Rock Island hydroelectric project.
Vineyard Wind, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), passed the final major step in the federal review process, which means it will likely become the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the United States.  
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of two projects to receive a total of approximately $99 million in federal funding. 
SUSTAINABLE INNOVATIONS and ENSO are the Spanish partners involved in HEROES (acronym of Hybrid EneRgy stOragE Stations), a new project funded under the European Union's Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020, that will last 36 months. 
Colonial Pipeline, a major delivery system spanning from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the East Coast for transportation fuels and other refined petroleum products, halted operations on Friday, May 7, to contain the effects of a cyberattack.
  
If you are in charge of a powerline transmission network, the chances are that errant vegetation is one of the major banes of your life.
New Jersey-based utility Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which previously reaffirmed its commitment to maintain its nuclear fleet and divest of most other generation assets, has found a buyer for its Solar Source portfolio.
  
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger revealed over the weekend that Greg Abel, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s vast electric power generation business would be taking over from them some day.
National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) is using transformational technology to unlock 1.5 GW of network capacity — enough renewable energy to power one million homes — supporting the United Kingdom's net-zero ambitions.
 
When Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany will aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, Frank Peter was surprised. His think tank, Agora Energiewende, had only a week before published an in-depth report laying out a path to accomplishing that ambitious goal—but they didn’t think Merkel would actually set it. 
Member Announcements
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and Austin Energy celebrate the completion of a new solar panel array constructed on the AUS campus that will produce 1.8 megawatts of locally-generated, renewable energy. 
  
Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), which serves one of the fastest growing service territories in the country, will soon serve customers with more solar power after expanding an existing all-source request for proposals (RFP).
The energy emergency across the entire midsection of the United States Feb. 14-20 will be discussed and investigated for months if not years, according to Barbara Sugg, CEO of Southwest Power Pool (SPP). 
Our Nation’s Energy Future (ONE Future) announced that Black Hills Corp. (operating its utilities under Black Hills Energy) has joined the Coalition. Black Hills Energy serves over 1.3 million electric and natural gas utility customers in more than 800 communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
  
Since CPS Energy’s President & CEO, Paula Gold-Williams, created the Flexible Path SM strategy in 2017, the nation’s largest municipally owned, fully-integrated electric and natural gas utility has focused on seeking new and innovative ways to reduce air emissions to create a cleaner San Antonio energy future. 
Access to detailed energy use and billing information; quicker response times to power outages; empowered customers with energy-saving tools; and, improved customer service. 
Evergy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) was filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission, accelerating the company’s carbon reduction timeline. As part of the plan, Evergy will retire nearly 1,200 megawatts of coal-based fossil generation and add 3,200 MW of renewable generation in the next 10 years.
Lincoln Electric System will pay $21.7 million to local governments in 2021 through its annual payment in lieu of tax and city dividend for utility ownership.
Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has contracted with Osmose Utilities Service to inspect wood poles used in its distribution, sub transmission and transmission operations throughout the District’s service territory.
During a special board meeting this morning, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors announced they have named a finalist to potentially lead the utility when Timothy J. Burke retires July 2.
 
After a six-year review process, PacifiCorp’s Weber hydroelectric plant was granted a renewed operational license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The term of the license is 40 years.
Platte River Power Authority and 174 Power Global (174PG), through their subsidiary BHS Solar, LLC, initiated the permitting process with Weld County planners to consider a utility scale solar generating installation.
  
Salt River Project announced plans to more than double its 2025 utility-scale solar commitment to now add a total of 2,025 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar energy to its power system by the end of fiscal year 2025, driven in part by dedicated customer demand for new renewables. 
Commercial operations have commenced at EDP Renewables North America’s (EDPR NA) 104-megawatt (MW) Crossing Trails Wind Farm. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is the project’s sole offtaker, through a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with EDPR NA. 
United Power President and CEO Mark A. Gabriel testified before the House Energy and Environment Committee in favor of Senate Bill 21-072 requiring all utilities to join organized wholesale markets.
Tucson Electric Power can now deliver energy from the sun to customers – even at moments when the sun isn’t shining – with our newest and largest solar and energy storage system.
 
Following the March 12 departure of Mark A. Gabriel, Tracey LeBeau became WAPA's interim administrator and CEO. Closed Circuit welcomes LeBeau in her new capacity.
Even more Xcel Energy customers in Colorado will soon be able to sign up for community solar gardens, as the company and its partners, Pivot Energy and Energy Outreach Colorado, break ground on the company’s third solar garden in Colorado.
White Paper
The now-familiar sight of traditional propeller wind turbines could be replaced in the future with wind farms containing more compact and efficient vertical turbines.