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 million. Your 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.