RMEL e-Newsletter October 2016
From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL
Best Events to Close out 2016 and Prepare You for a Great Start in 2017
As you wrap up the year and put your remaining 2016 training budgets to great use, you'll definitely want to get these events on your calendar! The brand new UAS in the Electric Energy Industry Conference & Roundtable is set for November 2-3. This is a major opportunity to convene with RMEL members to collectively discuss unmanned aircraft system opportunities for our industry! On November 4, attend a free Safety Roundtable - November 2016 to discuss vehicle accident prevention best practices. The Practical Applications of the 2017 NESC Workshop on November 9-10, will feature everything you need to know about 2017 NESC Updates. Right after the 2016 election, join us to strategize, plan and tell us what you need at the 2017 Fall Convention Planning Session on November 14. This has been a great year, and we look forward to closing 2016 out with some great events!
2017 Planning is Now in Full Swing
We just wrapped up a successful planning session for the 2017 Spring Management, Engineering and Operations Conference
(which will take place May 21-23, 2017, in Omaha, Nebraska), and I'm looking forward to working with the session attendees and RMEL's Vital Issues Committee to finalize topics and speakers over the next few months. Look for 30 presentations covering topics like: coal plant shutdown impacts, physical and cyber security, younger employees/ emerging leaders, the Clean Power Plan and regional haze regulations, unmanned aircraft systems, ELG Water/Solid Waste regulations, distributed automation, grid stability, distribution scale battery storage, Black Start, IEEE 1547 Standard for Interconnection and interoperability of distributed energy resources, distributed generation, utility scale wind, microgrids, utility scale battery storage and engineering procurement construction.
Professional Development Opportunities That Are Easy on the Budget
RMEL's Education Section Committees do an excellent job of creating events that are great tools for your professional development, as well as the development of high potential employees at your organization. Event participation provides a comprehensive list of resources and relationships that can help at any stage of your career. Please look at the list of offerings in 2017 (below), and think about how you can develop and/or help your employees reach their potential through RMEL.
Registration is Now Open for 2017 Events!
Safety Section Committee
The Safety Section prioritizes workplace safety at production, transmission and distribution, and management facilities in the utility industry.
Generation Section Committee
The Generation Section is focused on energy production and supply in the utility industry, including planning and development. Topics covered include renewable generation.
Transmission Section Committee
The Transmission Section topics relate to planning, engineering, operating and maintaining transmission facilities in the utility industry, including substations.
Distribution Section Committee
The Distribution Section is dedicated to planning, engineering, operating and maintaining distribution facilities in the utility industry, including distributed generation.
Vital Issues Section Committee
The RMEL Management Section is now the RMEL Vital Issues Section and is focused on the management of assets, planning, operations and workforce of the utility industry, including corporatewide critical issues and topics that affect different management levels. Discussion may be technical but in general maintains perspective from a higher management level. This section includes demand-side management, energy efficiency and sustainability. This section also incorporates miscellaneous industry areas and fringe topics not covered in other sections. Introduction to the Electric Utility Workshop.
EDUCATION AND UPCOMING EVENTS
Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
RMEL MEMBER INFORMATION
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RMEL's trusted network is now accessible on
. 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.
to see a list of the 2016 RMEL Champions.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that a DOE-funded project on second-generation carbon dioxide (CO2) solvent technology will begin testing at the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) in western Norway. The DOE and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy have a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering fossil energy-related research to leverage each countries' investments in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).
Grist sorted through the debate last night to get nuggets on each candidate's energy policy. In this piece, they go step-by-step through both Trump's and Cinton's answers, the truth (or lack thereof) behind them and, in the end, conclude that presidential chats about energy still center on "how to produce more of it rather than how to produce it without burning up the planet." What was your take on energy policy and last night's debate?
DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are partnering to address a growing industry talent shortage with the third annual Careers in Energy Week, proclaimed Oct. 17-21 by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan boasts nearly 97,000 energy jobs, and the Michigan Workforce Development Agency estimates the Energy Cluster to grow by 9.4 percent through 2024. At the same time, an estimated 25 to 50 percent of workers in Michigan's utility sector will be eligible to retire within the next five years.
Faced with customer outrage over skyrocketing prices for electricity in Ontario, Hydro One Networks Inc., the largest utility in the province, has turned to the power of behavioral science to help solve its problems. Warren Lister, Hydro One's recently named vice-president of customer service, said one of his first tasks is to redesign the Hydro One bill.
Vestas is front-runner to supply wind turbines for the 200.1MW Red Pine project in southwestern Minnesota under development by a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy, according to regulatory filings.
U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions totaled 2,530 million metric tons in the first six months of 2016. This was the lowest emissions level for the first six months of the year since 1991, as mild weather and changes in the fuels used to generate electricity contributed to the decline in energy-related emissions. EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that energy-associated CO2 emissions will fall to 5,179 million metric tons in 2016, the lowest annual level since 1992.
Northwestern Energy will seek 55 MW of additional power-generating capacity by 2019 and possibly ten times that much over the next decade, to ensure it can satisfy customer demands as the availability of coal-fired electricity ebbs, representatives of the utility said Monday. The move comes as large coal-fired power plants across the Pacific Northwest - including the Colstrip Steam Electric Station in eastern Montana - have announced plans to scale back or end operations in coming years.
Energy independence has been a goal of every president since Richard Nixon. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have very different ways to achieve it. How energy is produced and where it comes from affect jobs, the economy and the environment.
Houston-based EmberClear Corp. plans to build a 1,000-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant on a 60-acre site in eastern Ohio near several gas pipelines carrying natural gas produced from the region's abundant shale gas fields. The Harrison County Community Improvement Corporation told the Harrison News-Herald the plant will be built in the Harrison County Industrial Park. If federal, state and local regulators approve the project, construction would begin in 2018 with commercial operation expected in 2021.
The Illinois Commerce Commission on Friday approved Ameren Illinois' plans to accelerate upgrades to its electric grid, an effort that has already resulted in more than 235,300 fewer outages and saved customers an estimated $46 million each year. The plan includes accelerated deployment of the utility's smart meters at homes and businesses by 2019. The utility launched its grid improvement initiative in 2012 after state lawmakers approved legislation allowing the company to recover costs for improvements to the state's electric distribution system.
Recent history has given rise to an almost feverish obsession with regard to thinking about "grid security" and large-scale national or regional cascading events. Ever since the Metcalf Substation attack of 2013, regulators, utilities, and Congress have been almost single mindedly focused on just such an event - a large scale, multi-jurisdictional, simultaneously coordinated attack against numerous substations critical to interconnections. In these scenarios, an adversary would need to damage and disrupt the substations in question, in particular the extra high voltage (EHV) transformers, in order to trigger a regional to national cascading outage.
Florida Power & Light Co. has announced that with the approach of Hurricane Matthew, the company continues to make final preparations to restore service safely and as quickly as possible after what is forecast to be a very dangerous and damaging storm. FPL urges its customers to take the time now to prepare for potential power outages with an emphasis along Florida's east coast, though feeder bands can be expected to extend several hundred miles from the storm's center to the west coast of Florida. Additionally, given the nature of the approaching storm and expected vegetation-related impacts on FPL equipment, some customers may experience more than one outage throughout the duration of the storm.
If residents and motorists see drones flying near transmission lines and equipment in North Austin on Thursday, Oct. 6, there is no need for concern. Austin Energy and the IC² Institute are participating in a research project testing image pattern recognition software to detect worn and damaged equipment.
The drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles) will inspect transmission lines near Research Boulevard, Burnet Road and Knoll Park Drive throughout the day. The drones will fly within the Austin Energy right of way for transmission lines.
In 1930, Arizona was home to 435,573 residents, the Hoover Dam was a year away from the start of construction, and the original Phoenix Power Plant at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Buckeye Road was put into service by Central Arizona Light and Power Co. (CALAPCO). With a capacity of 18 megawatts, the plant supplied enough electricity to power all of Phoenix (with a then population of nearly 50,000) and the surrounding community.
Employees at the plant have worked without a major workplace injury since fall 2006.
Employees at Basin Electric's Leland Olds Station, located near Stanton, ND, have worked without a major workplace injury since October 2006, and the record continues to grow. Employees at the station surpassed 3 million work-hours without a DART incident on April 28. DART refers to injuries resulting in days away, restricted or transferred, and is a measure of the severity of an injury that occurs in the workplace.
El Paso Electric (EPE) welcomes the commercial operation of the last generating unit, Unit 4, at the Montana Power Station (MPS) located in east El Paso County. This marks the completion of the Montana Power Station, and together, these four generating units are capable of producing enough energy to provide electricity to more than 160,000 homes and add 352 megawatts (MW) of efficient, reliable and clean energy to our system.
KCP&L is excited to announce the return of the annual KCP&L Community MVP Scholarship Program. The scholarship program is for teens, ages 13 to 18, who give back to their communities. Ten finalists will be selected, each receiving a $1,000 scholarship with the grand prize winner taking home a $5,000 scholarship. As part of KCP&L's partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, all of the finalists will be invited to a one-of-a-kind Kansas City Chiefs game day experience during the 2016 season.
Lincoln Electric System is deploying staff and vehicles to help Florida public power utilities with anticipated power restoration efforts due to Hurricane Matthew. This hurricane is a significant storm that currently is moving north-northwest through the Atlantic as a category-4 hurricane. Forecasters are predicting that the storm will re-strengthen and reach Florida late Thursday or early Friday. Thirteen LES employees with seven trucks will report to Vero Beach, Florida. Electric utilities in the path of the storm have been preparing for days. They are prestaging restoration workers and equipment now, and are directly coordinating preparation and response efforts with their state governments and local officials.
Harvest season is one of the busiest times of year for farmers-and can be one of the most dangerous.
Nebraska Public Power District urges farm operators to be aware of overhead power lines, keep farm equipment safely away from the lines, and know what to do if accidental contact is made with power lines. A key factor for those harvesting crops is to look up and around when working in the fields this fall .Taking a few minutes to look for overhead electric lines may be life-saving time well spent. So what are some the dangers that farmers can encounter.
The Utah Public Service Commission approved a $15.6 million decrease in Rocky Mountain Power's customer electricity bills. The decision comes after the energy company achieved lower fuel and electricity purchase costs than previously forecast. The overall rate decrease is 0.8 percent which includes about $6.84 in annual savings for a typical Utah residential customer.
PNM recognized local businesses that went above and beyond in saving energy in 2015 by participating in PNM business energy efficiency rebate programs. The recognition will take place at the East Mountains Los Vecinos Community Center. The top four East Mountain PNM Business Energy Efficiency Stars are: Triangle Grocery - large business with the highest energy savings; Sandia Park Self Storage - large business honorable mention with highest energy savings; Brewer Oil Company - small business honorable mention with high energy savings; Bernalillo County Fire Stations - area government entities with the highest energy savings.
Salt River Project is partnering with EVgo to provide five new electric vehicle fast-charging EVgo Stations in SRP's service territory. In less than 30 minutes, EVgo's dependable DC fast-chargers can deliver close to a full charge to nearly any fast charge-capable vehicle on the road. The station, located at the Biltmore Fashion Park, is part of EVgo's expansive public fast-charging network, which includes over 750 chargers in over 55 metro markets throughout the country. The new stations, located throughout the Valley, include both CHAdeMO & CCS adapter coverage, serving the charging needs of a majority of electric vehicle drivers.
The Empire District Electric Company (NYSE:EDE) announced a filing with the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) of a Unanimous Settlement Agreement with respect to the joint application for approval of an Agreement and Plan of Merger filed on March 16, 2016. The Unanimous Settlement Agreement is subject to approval by the KCC. As a condition of the Unanimous Settlement Agreement that was reached with the staff of the KCC, Empire's pending rate case is to be withdrawn and current base rates are to remain in effect through January 1, 2019.
October is National Cooperative Month and the members of United Power are celebrating the cooperative difference. For more than 50 years, organizations across the country have championed the benefits of the cooperative network and have used it as an opportunity to educate others about the value of the cooperative business model. United Power invites you to take advantage of the benefits the Co-op Connections Card provides by participating in the first-ever National Co-op Connections Day, sponsored by Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives.
When fans cheer on the Wildcats at Arizona Stadium this fall, they also can learn how to be energy efficient and win prizes from Tucson Electric Power. TEP will have a booth at every University of Arizona football home game to spread the word about programs that offer rebates on air conditioners, discounts on shade trees and energy-efficient LED and CFL bulbs, and other benefits for customers. Attendees can gather information and spin a wheel to win prizes, including rally towels and clear stadium bags, at TEP's booth on the north side of the upper level.
The Westar Energy Green Team will host rifle deer hunts for youths with little or no deer hunting experience. Hunts will be conducted at Jeffrey Energy Center, located seven miles north of St. Marys, Kansas during the early firearm deer season; November 30 through December 11. Youths 12 and older are invited to apply. Each young hunter must be accompanied by an adult mentor to participate. Hunts will be in the early morning or late afternoon. A limited number of slots will be awarded to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis with priority to those with little or no deer hunting experience.
A pilot energy market agreement proves effective in just 10 months for Western Area Power Administration and its customers in California. Northern California Power Agency, Silicon Valley Power and WAPA joined together last December to broker a Market Efficiency Enhancement Agreement with California Independent System Operator Corporation. The agreement between the entities improved the locational pricing for hydropower WAPA imports to the CAISO market and opened the door for several additional WAPA customers who have since chosen to sign onto the agreement.
The development of the smart power grid and the smart meter in our homes to accompany it brings several benefits, such as improved delivery and more efficient billing. Conversely, any digital, connected technology also represents a security risk. Researchers now explain how a malicious third party that hacked into the metering system could manipulate en masse the data being sent back to the smart grid and perhaps trigger a power generation shortfall.
Scientists have developed numerous models to predict how much fuel remains inside Earth to drive its engines -- and estimates vary widely -- but the true amount remains unknown. In a new article, a team of geologists and neutrino physicists boldly claims it will be able to determine by 2025 how much nuclear fuel and radioactive power remain in the Earth's tank.