RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Remembering Mark Eaton 

As we go through our life’s daily tasks, we find ourselves getting caught up in the routine of activity, checking boxes, meeting deadlines, returning calls and emails. At least until we get reminded of what’s important in life. The recent passing of NBA All Star Mark Eaton was that reminder for me. I couldn’t help but think of the relationship we developed, how blessed I was to have gotten to work with him, and most of all, his message and what Mark stood for and how he lived every day to the fullest. I posted more of my thoughts about Mark on LinkedIn, and as I’ve had more time to reflect on everything he did for our industry and for RMEL, I’m understanding more and more why we had him speak at RMEL 3 times (the most of any other keynote) and why his message resonated so much with our RMEL family. He was a truly great man who shared his story of turning challenges and struggles into success in a way that we can all live by. His work with RMEL’s Emerging Leader Award recipients really captures what he was all about…

Mark Eaton designed and implemented the first Emerging Leader Award Recipient Strategy Session at the 2016 Spring Conference, and RMEL has held an Emerging Leader Award Strategy Session based on his model every year since.

He created the framework for RMEL’s Emerging Leader Awards Program as the first keynote speaker to do a private session with award recipients at our Spring Conference, a tradition which we continue today. He set the bar high, and created a solid message around safety and leadership to all the people he spoke to. I will be forever grateful for how much he gave to our association and our industry. It saddens me to know we won’t get to meet again. I am grateful to you, Mark, for allowing our paths to cross. Thank you! Please keep his family in your prayers.

Looking Forward – 2021 RMEL Plans

RMEL Spring Conference
The 2021 RMEL Virtual Spring Conference last month was a great success. Thank you to all of the speakers, attendees and companies that made this event happen! Attendees can still watch 22 recorded presentations and 8 technical showcases on the Conference web page until the end of next week! 

RMEL has a great summer planned and some exciting things coming up in the fall. There’s more on all of that below. The remainder of 2021 will be jam-packed as we continue virtual offerings and put more and more in-person events on the calendar!

Virtual Distribution Engineers Workshop
Register for Part 1 Recording and Live Parts 2 & 3
June 3rd, 10th & 17th

Distribution engineers and designers will have a unique opportunity to hear from a wide range of organizations during the Distribution Engineers Workshop. Preliminary topics include overhead fundamentals, underground cable and components, distribution transformers, fusing and coordination, power quality, COVID – reengaging payments and resumption of disconnects, addressing challenges in siting equipment with zero lot lines, transportation electrification strategy and programs at Salt River Project, distribution automation/power quality, ATO switches – power quality, distribution capacitor banks and AMI metering.

2021 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament
Sold Out – Hole Sponsorships Still Available
June 23, 2021, Arrowhead Golf Club, Littleton, CO

Thank you 2021 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament Title Sponsor:



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. 

Webinar - The Great Public Engagement Shift: A 3-Step Guide
Complimentary for RMEL Members
June 29, 2021

As communities begin to reopen, we need to determine how we can provide safe and equitable engagement opportunities for all community members. Instead of returning to pre-COVID-19 meeting formats - workshops, pop-up events, open houses, event tabling - it's time to embrace this transformational moment. While we know there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for a public engagement strategy, we have discovered some common themes, amongst our 120+ strategic communications professionals, in planning for public engagement going forward. Join Emily and Sabrina as they discuss three steps to guide your planning. Placing the focus back on our communities by listening to their individual needs, keeping safety in mind, and aligning engagement strategies for greater accessibility.

Webinar & Roundtable: Low Carbon Fuels
Complimentary for RMEL Members
July 8, 2021

Low carbon fuels, including biomass/waste, liquid biofuels, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen, are of significant interest as a means of decarbonizing numerous industries, most notably the electric power sector. This presentation will provide an overview of the field of bioenergy, a summary of feedstock characteristics, and high-level design and project development considerations for producing/using power, heat, and solid, liquid, or gaseous biofuels. The role of bioenergy as part a suite of other decarbonization technologies will also be discussed.

2021 RMEL Fall Convention
Dates & Location: To be Announced

We’ll have more details soon about the 2021 Fall Convention and in-person, virtual and hybrid offerings for the Convention. Look forward to stellar lineup of keynotes, general session speakers and the CEO Panel. The RMEL Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention started in October of 1903. Since that first meeting, the Fall Convention has grown and evolved into one of the industry’s leading events for senior management. The Convention provides a relaxed forum for networking with your peers and colleagues to find and share solutions to the critical issues that keep you up at night. The primary focus of the Convention is the educational presentations, which include a vision and forecasting trends, current and future projects, lessons learned, technology, regulation, compliance, public policy, fuel strategies, workforce development and other topics selected by RMEL’s leaders. Utility executives offer their insight and thoughts on a variety of issues, trends, challenges and the direction they are leading their companies. Speakers are primarily CEOs, senior executives and other top leaders from inside the industry discussing the issues that matter most to you. Find significant value in the two day streamlined format. Make the connections you need and learn from education presentations that will benefit you and your company.

Hybrid Generation Roundtable
September 30, 2021, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Westminster, CO

More details will be available soon about a hybrid Generation Roundtable being held in-person at Tri-State Generation & Transmission association with virtual video conference capabilities enabled for those who wish to attend virtually. We are looking forward to this new type of offering.

Nominate a Leader for an RMEL Award by July 30th

RMEL is seeking nominations of exemplary individuals in the electric energy industry for the Distinguished Leadership Award, Industry Leadership Award and the Honorary Life Membership Award. These awards are presented to individuals to commend outstanding work and leadership at their organizations and in the electric energy industry. Submit your nomination by July 30th.

Thank you!

Thank you, everyone, for all your support and participation over this past year. The heaviness of 2020 seems like it is starting to lift and we can’t wait to see you in person! We are excited and hopeful about the future and truly believe that your virtual engagement through all of this will put RMEL in a very strong position with more ways to get involved than ever before.

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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
  
District of Columbia regulators on Friday approved Potomac Electric Power Company's (Pepco) multi-year rate plan (MRP), authorizing the utility to recover $108.6 million through higher rates over three years, from 2020 to 2022.
  
State regulators in the Northeast are cautiously optimistic that the new administration and improved relations with their grid operator will finally place their states — and their region — on a path toward dramatically reducing emissions in the next decade.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a preliminary permit to One Drop Hydro LLC to study the feasibility of the 250-kW Manville Dam Project in Providence County, Rhode Island.
  
The Koehler Group has announced plans to fully convert its power plant at its Oberkirch location in Germany to a combined heat and power plant using biomass as a fuel.
 The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced that it has selected the West Virginia University Research Corporation to receive $5 million for the research and development of an advanced component that can improve the ability of thermal power plants to generate highly-flexible, low-carbon power from traditional, renewable, and nuclear energy. 
Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm launched the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Earthshots Initiative, to accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the decade. 
Recently completed pipeline projects in Texas and Mexico have increased natural gas transportation capacity from the Waha Hub—located near Permian Basin production activities in West Texas—to the U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico. 
 
  
Advanced weather technologies are changing utilities’ approach to operations and long-term capital investments. 
  
A next-generation, small nuclear plant will be built at a soon-to-be retired coal-fired power plant in Wyoming in the next several years, business and government officials said.
With declining technology costs and increasing renewable deployment, energy storage is poised to be a valuable resource on future power grids — but what is the total market potential for storage technologies and what are the key drivers of cost-optimal deployment?
 
Member Announcements
Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicle Auto Dealership Engagement Initiative is a Smart Cities Smart 50 Awards winner.  
Bakken Energy, LLC, formerly Bakken Midstream Natural Gas, LLC, and Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc. have signed a strategic partnership agreement to create a world-class clean hydrogen hub in North Dakota. 
 
CPS Energy announced that it was successful in defeating two key actions brought by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in CPS Energy’s case against the state electric grid operator.
Evergy filed its first Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Kansas Corporation Commission. The plan prioritizes sustainability, reliability and cost competitiveness with retirement of 1,200 megawatts of coal-based fossil generation and the addition of 3,200 MW of renewable generation in the next 10 years.
If you live in and around Ainsworth, you might have noticed construction at the site of NPPD's newest SunWise℠ community solar facility located just north of the Cowboy Trail at the south end of East City Park. Construction officially began the second week of May.
  
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Javier Fernandez as the utility’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.
  
TerraPower, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and PacifiCorp announced efforts to advance a Natrium™ reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming. The companies are evaluating several potential locations in the state. 
Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) recognizes the role it plays in helping New
Mexicans recover from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
  
The wildfire season has just begun for Arizona’s high country, and so far more than 2,000 acres have burned in the SRP watersheds – a vital source of water for the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Tri-State has completed the next step in the process to provide more self-supply flexibility to its members, including increased local renewable generation, with its first-ever “open season” nomination period for members to express their interest in transitioning to partial requirements memberships.
United Power recently topped 99,000 meter connections thanks to record-setting growth in April.
  
Children can climb behind the wheel, push buttons and plug in a charger in a revamped electric vehicle at a Children’s Museum Tucson’s exhibit, recently modernized by TEP.
The wildfire season in 2020 was particularly devastating, with West Coast states finding the destructive events difficult to control. More than 10.2 million acres were burned in California, Oregon and Washington. The fires took lives, destroyed buildings and resulted in around $20 billion in damage.
 Xcel Energy announced that the company delivered for customers, achieved key carbon reduction goals, supported its communities and kept customer bills low despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn and civil unrest in the states it serves.
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