RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of Executive Director Richard Putnicki

Thank You for Supporting the RMEL Foundation

What a great start to summer, kicking it off with the RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament last week and having our FIRST in-person event since March 2020! Golfers were excited and the spirit and traditions of RMEL were all around us. We sold out all 144 spots of the tournament about one month before the tournament, with six additional teams on the “wait list” if a foursome dropped out. This is extremely exciting if this is an indication of what we will see when our educational programming opens up. On top of the success of getting back together, through everyone’s generosity, we were able to raise just under $26,000 for scholarships at the tournament. This record total is truly a result of the generosity from our membership and recognition of the great work sponsored by the RMEL Foundation. We appreciate everyone’s support, and I especially want to thank Johnny Bofilios and Copperleaf for this year’s Title Sponsorship.

The next RMEL Foundation fundraiser is the big one! The RMEL Foundation Auction will take place this fall during the 2021 RMEL Fall Convention. You can send in your donations and donation forms now, and more details on the donation deadline will be available soon!

More Educational Events

Webinar & Roundtable – Low Carbon Fuels
July 8, 2021, 9-10:30 a.m. MDT

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.

Webinar: Substation Grounding System Testing and Maintenance
July 27, 2021, 9-10:30 a.m. MDT

The condition of a substation's grounding system is key to ensuring personnel safety and reliable equipment operation. However, despite its importance, integrity testing methods and frequencies vary widely due in part to the lack of industry standards addressing substation ground mat maintenance. The Western Area Power Administration will present their approach to this issue in three parts: the need for testing based on field safety concerns, testing methods used to evaluate the condition of the grounding system, and testing program implementation based on reliability centered maintenance principles. Attendees will hear experiences and perspectives of field personnel, engineering staff and program management.

Hybrid RMEL Safety Roundtable
August (date tbd)  9 a.m. - 2 p.m. MDT, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Westminster, CO

More details will be available soon about a hybrid Safety 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.

Hybrid Generation Roundtable
September 30, 2021, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. MDT, 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.

2021 Fall Convention

2021 RMEL Fall Convention 
Dates & Location: To be Announced

I have been approached by many of you asking if we are going to have the RMEL Fall Convention this year and is there a chance it will be back live, in person?  I assure you, the staff is doing its homework and everything in its power to make that happen. We are looking into venue and location options, as well as what a virtual component might look like. We are hoping to share more details soon about the 2021 Fall Convention and in-person, virtual and hybrid offerings. Please mark your calendars for this event to occur in the October time frame. 

We will continue to do what we do every year. We will compile a stellar lineup of keynotes, general session speakers and the CEO Panel for our signature Fall event. We will provide a relaxed forum for networking with your peers and colleagues to find and share solutions to the critical issues that our utilities are facing. We all know how much we have missed that the last 18 months! The educational focus will include timely presentations on vision and forecast trends, current and future industry projects, lessons learned, new technology, public policy, fuel strategies, workforce challenges and other relevant topics selected by RMEL’s leadership. 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.

We look forward to seeing you together again!

Nominate a Leader for an RMEL Award by July 30

RMEL actively tries to capture the opportunity to allow our members to recognize leaders in their organizations. We are seeking nominations of those 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 30.

Thank you again for helping us kick off a great 2021! We look forward to seeing you soon!

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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. Thank you 2021 RMEL Champions!
Industry Information
A proposed transmission line that would bring power from wind-rich Iowa into the demand-heavy Chicago region is facing up to three years of delay caused by congestion in the regional grid operator's interconnection queue.
The heat wave that spread across the Pacific Northwest over the weekend, leaving utilities racing to alert customers and prepare their systems, is an indication that the region's power sector will need to take a closer look at their reliability planning, experts say.
Drax Group is seeking planning permission to build a new 600-MW underground pumped hydro storage power station at its 440-MW Cruachan facility in Scotland, which would more than double the site’s electricity generating capacity.
As individual states across the U.S. work towards increasingly ambitious net zero emissions targets, the logistics of how these targets can be achieved and where investment should be made is at the forefront of decision-makers’ minds.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $8 million in federal funding for four projects to develop and test technologies that capture and utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources to create valuable products and services, biomass and bi-products. 
Primary energy consumption totaled 93 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in the United States in 2020, or 7 quads less than in 2019. Fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for 79% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2020.
To protect and meet the energy needs of each of its 16 million customers and enhance the energy systems they depend on every day, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is proposing a series of crucial safety, resiliency and clean energy investments in its 2023 General Rate Case (GRC). 
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a deceptively simple sensor system that the lab developed can prevent dangerous conditions from developing in outdoor battery cabinets.
Crews have started work installing the first energy storage battery units at Florida Power & Light’s massive Manatee Energy Storage Center.
The U.K. will cease all coal-fired electricity generation in October 2024, bringing forward the end date for the fuel by a year, in a bid to boost the country’s climate credentials ahead of an all-important climate summit in November. 
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation began a multiyear effort to increase capacity and improve the safety of the interchange. As a result, two of the electric transmission and distribution tunnels needed to be increased in length.
Member Announcements
With more energy-saving technology available than ever before, Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) is poised to add new smart customer products to its already comprehensive customer energy efficiency and demand-side management program portfolio. 
N-7 LLC (N-7), a joint venture between OCI and Dakota Gasification Company, announces that effective July 1, David Schramm will assume the position of executive chairman of N-7’s board of directors until he retires from the company in February. John Ringkob will succeed Schramm as president.
El Paso Electric’s (EPE) Summer College Internship Program is officially in session. 
LES joined the Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI, as it hosts the second annual online Pollinator Power Party June 21-25. 
Nebraska Public Power District partnered with the city of Norfolk for a ribbon cutting event. The ribbon cutting kicked off the availability of Norfolk’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger, located on the east side of main street.  
After 24 years of service to Omaha Public Power District, Timothy J. Burke attended his last monthly board meeting as president and CEO.
Nearly 3,250 megawatts of new, low-cost clean energy resources including solar, wind, batteries and transmission to interconnect those resources to PacifiCorp’s multi-state grid, could join PacifiCorp’s rapidly decarbonizing system by 2024. 
Platte River Power Authority used a low-flying helicopter to conduct an infrared scan of its electrical substations and transmission lines from approximately 8 a.m. until late afternoon on July 1. 
Even with working from home and a busy household, signing up for SRP’s Time-of-Use Price Plan seemed like a good way to save money. 
Fitch Ratings reaffirmed Tri-State’s long-term issuer rating at A- and short-term rating at F1. Fitch also maintained Tri-State’s ratings outlook at Stable.
“Smart” programmable thermostats have helped many people reduce their electric bills. But fresh out of the box, even smart thermostats need some help from their owners. 
The survey will provide a snapshot of the current culture. It will also identify gaps and shape future initiatives by pinpointing opportunities to promote the health of WAPA's security culture.
Xcel Energy announced it is proposing an alternate energy plan (also known as an integrated resource plan) for the Upper Midwest that enhances the company’s commitment to dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity it provides customers while ensuring continued reliability and affordability.
White Paper
A team of scientists led by Drs. Shinji Kawasaki and Yosuke Ishii from Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan, has been at the forefront of efforts to achieve efficient solar-energy-assisted CO2 reduction. Their recent breakthrough is published in Nature's Scientific Reports.