RMEL eNews
RMEL Report

From the Desk of RMEL Executive Director Rick Putnicki

RMEL 2021 Fall Convention

RMEL staff and the Board of Directors have been working hard to make the Fall Convention an in-person event.  We had done our homework and contracts were ready and almost signed, but the current surge of the Delta variant spike stopped us in our tracks, causing many of our member companies to reevaluate their return to work targets, travel policies and quarantine plans. This would all have a significant impact on participation for an in-person Fall Convention; thus, we would not be able to reach the attendance and representation we all had hoped for this Fall. We are extremely disappointed and saddened to see the increase in COVID-19 cases, as we thought in the beginning of summer that we were turning the corner on the pandemic.  As indicated from the Foundation Golf Tournament participation, we knew so many members were ready to get back together.  We had to make the prudent decision to postpone our in-person Fall Convention for the safety and well-being of our members and our Association. We are not wavering on getting back together in person as soon as possible, as you’ll see with some smaller regional events below.

Mark Your Calendars for the Week of October 18th

We are in the process of securing speakers and will host the 2021 Virtual Fall Convention the week of October 18th, allowing more member company employees to access a lineup of keynote speakers, CEO Panelists, electric energy leaders and speakers from outside the industry. Content is king, and we will continue to work together with thought-provoking speakers, roundtables and virtual networking opportunities. We will provide opportunities for members to find and share solutions to the critical issues that electric utilities are facing. 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. Please take advantage of the Corporate Registration package we will be offering our member companies, which will allow all employees from your company to participate in the event.

Help Grow the Industry by Donating to and Participating in the 2021 RMEL Foundation Auction

It wouldn’t be an RMEL Fall Convention without an Auction! This year is no different! We are going to continue the tradition and accompany the 2021 Fall Convention with a virtual RMEL Foundation Auction!  The Foundation Auction is only successful through the generosity of the RMEL membership. That starts with the donation of quality items from our members to be auctioned off. This allows the RMEL Foundation to annually provide scholarship dollars to students pursuing electric energy careers. Over the past 21 years the Foundation has awarded 461 scholarships totaling more than $1 millionYour support is needed to continue the Foundation's scholarship efforts, especially through these unusual times. RMEL is now accepting auction items and cash donations! Look for more details to come!  

Upcoming Hybrid, In-Person and Virtual Programs

While a larger convention is not yet in our immediate future, we are actively planning smaller in-person events. We are also looking to add regional events to bring relevant and timely content out to various member locations. Please contact us if you’d like us to bring an event to your region. We are also continuing to provide complimentary webinars, roundtables and low cost workshops to our members.

Virtual Panel and Roundtable: Power Generation Cold Weather Preparedness
August 26, 9-11 a.m. MDT

Extended cold weather extremes severely stressed generation assets last February. CPS Energy, Xcel Energy and Black & Veatch will provide multiple perspectives to learn from the experience and improve plant preparedness for future extreme cold weather events: CPS Energy will discuss issues encountered and how they responded to them; Xcel Energy will discuss expectations for future NERC Reliability Freeze Protection policies; and, Black & Veatch will discuss modifications necessary to meet new freeze protection criteria from an engineering standpoint.

Hybrid RMEL Safety Roundtable
Date TBD (August 31, or September 7)  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.

Hybrid Generation Roundtable
September 30, 2021, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. MDT, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Westminster, CO

This event will focus on the technology challenges of the shutdown of coal plants.  More details will be available soon about this 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.

Keeping Our Foot on the Gas – Slowing Down but Not Stopping

I want to reiterate that RMEL is focused on getting in-person programs back as soon as possible. Sharing experiences among a trusted community of RMEL members at conferences, roundtables and workshops has been RMEL’s foundation since 1903. We remain steadfast and solid because of that strong foundation. While we had to tap the brakes a little bit with our decision this week, we look forward to that opportunity when we can be back together. We remain focused on RMEL’s mission: Preparing the electric energy industry for the future through education and networking.

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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!
   
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Industry Information
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Offshore wind developer US Wind has submitted a bid for a new 1,200 MW offshore wind farm, slated for construction adjacent to the company's $77 million MarWin project, which is already set for construction off the coast of Maryland.
 
Spread across two locations and coupled with hydropower stations, Germany’s RWE is building a battery storage system with a total capacity of 117 MW, to be installed at its power plants in Lingen (Lower Saxony) and Werne (North Rhine-Westphalia).
 
  
The Biden administration and leaders in the U.S. Congress unveiled details of the 2,700-page, bipartisan infrastructure package on Sunday that includes $550 billion in new spending. 
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), in collaboration with the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Geothermal Technology Office, issued a notice of intent (NOI) for a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) expected to support front-end engineering design (FEED) studies of direct air capture (DAC) combined with dedicated storage and coupled to existing low-carbon energy.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a recognized industry leader in wildfire safety, unveiled its wildfire mitigation and resiliency advancements in preparation for this year's wildfire season. 
Form EIA-861 and Form EIA-861S (short form) data files include information such as peak load, generation, electric purchases, sales, revenues, customer counts, energy efficiency, demand response, net metering programs, and distributed generation capacity.
  
If the clean energy industry has shown us anything the past few years, it’s that it’s booming and ready to power our economy long into the future. 
Exelon will shut down its Byron and Dresden nuclear power plants in Illinois within weeks.
  
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is expanding its digital footprint by linking with expert technology firms that specialize in artificial intelligence that will help advance NYPA’s strategic clean energy and climate action goals and benefit the utility industry.
They used to call Susan Gray “the girl” when she started as an intern at Tucson Electric Power in 1994. Now we call her President and CEO.
 
Member Announcements
Austin Energy is keeping electric vehicle drivers energized with the deployment of seven new fast chargers at 811 Electric Drive, bringing the total number at this location to eight. 
 
Kevin Solie, Basin Electric senior environmental compliance administrator, presented at the USWAG (Utility Solid Waste Activities Group) CCR (Coal Combustion Residual) Workshop virtually.
El Paso Electric (EPE) is excited to announce the launch of its newest initiative to help drive innovation and collaboration between EPE and its diverse community. 
What should  Nebraska Public Power District’s carbon reduction initiatives look like in the future? End-use customers of NPPD, and its wholesale public power partners (rural power districts and municipalities), can play a role in making that determination through a series of informational forums to be held during August.  
  
Omaha Public Power District is among the highest-scoring utilities nationwide in a new study related to brand trust.
Following a nationwide search process, Platte River Power Authority recently hired Melie Vincent to serve as the organization’s next chief operating officer (COO).
 
  
It is common for teachers to dig into their bank accounts to buy needed items for their students and classrooms. 
Governor Laura Kelly announced an exciting new partnership between the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Certified Sites program and Kansas-based Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, which will increase the number of shovel-ready development sites Kansas can showcase to developers nationwide.
Modernization of the electric grid should not be the singular focus of spending in the United States, rather we should also be targeting our efforts and dollars at specific projects that will make the most immediate impacts. 
In March, WAPA's Small Unmanned Aircraft System, or sUAS, pilot program reached its conclusion. These units can be used when surveying and inspecting miles of transmission line, saving both time and money, as well as preserving one of WAPA's most valuable assets: the safety of its workers and linemen.
 Xcel Energy spent close to $524 million with Texas and New Mexico vendors in 2020 to improve and maintain its extensive electrical system and provided more than $1.1 million in funding to nonprofits working to meet the needs of communities impacted by the pandemic.
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