RMEL e-Newsletter August 2017
From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL
I first want to take a moment to acknowledge that our industry recently lost a great friend and champion. Ebi Kazemi, Black Hills Corporation, lost his quick battle to cancer this past July at 57 years young. Ebi will forever be remembered by his RMEL family. For more than 10 years, Ebi actively served on RMEL's Education Committee and Distribution Committee. He served as Vice-Chair of RMEL's Distribution Committee since 2015. Ebi was always ready to volunteer, share ideas, discuss topics, recruit speakers and present when needed. He demonstrated a true passion for his profession. He promoted conversation and finding solutions with a great energy. Never afraid to address contentious issues, Ebi had a unique way of easing the tension and finding the right path to resolution. As one of our RMEL Board members described him, "He was an engineer's engineer. He was a good man." He was well respected, personally and professionally. His soft smile, witting humor and intense listening skills will be missed. Thank you, Ebi, for sharing part of your short time with us - we are better off because of it.
It's meeting people like Ebi, who are just so passionate about this industry, that is the best part of my job. Throughout my career, I have been blessed watching friends and colleagues start their journey, discover their own potential and build their knowledge and skillsets into a meaningful career. We are a part of a wonderful business, grounded by a genuine concern for what our industry offers! Enjoy your journey and the people you have an opportunity to share some time with along the way. We will miss you, Ebi!
Upcoming Auction in September and 2018 Scholarship Application
Many students don't realize the exciting opportunities available in the electric energy industry. As your organizations, high schools, colleges and universities partner together to showcase power careers, the RMEL Foundation is a resource for scholarships. The biggest fundraiser is the RMEL Foundation Auction, September 18, in Tucson, AZ. You can donate an item and participate in the Auction at the Fall Convention
. The 2018 Scholarship application will be available this Fall. Please share the scholarship application with friends, colleagues and university/college contacts who can help us spread the word.
Leaders and Emerging Leaders
Leaders Developing Future Leaders Workshop and 2018 Emerging Leader Awards Application
The upcoming Leaders Developing Future Leaders Workshop will be held August 16-17, 2017, in Lone Tree, CO. This is the first workshop of its kind for RMEL, and we are excited about the potential of this event. Participation numbers and utility representation look fantastic, and the variety of presentation topics will provide a great opportunity to take away some "nuggets" that will help in developing your own career, or the careers you manage. This is an event for anyone wanting to learn skills through experiences for managing one's career. You'll hear from today's leaders on how they identify those with leadership potential, gain their commitment and ensure their development. It's an opportunity to ask: Are these the skills and tools you use to develop your staff? What are you doing to manage your career development and prepare yourself for future leadership opportunities? Register and download the brochure.
We are coming up on our fifth
year of the Emerging Leader Awards Program. The 2018 nomination form will go up this fall, and now is a great time to start thinking about a person at your company that you'd like to acknowledge. We are looking for people with 5-10 years of experience who are already making an impact.
2017 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention
September 17-19, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona
If you have the opportunity to attend just one event this year, I highly encourage you to join us for the 2017 RMEL Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention September 17-19, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona. Together, executive speakers and attendees will explore Ingenuity and Innovation: The Power Industry's New Frontier
We are so excited that Mark Kelly, Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Mission & Space and Aviation Contributor for NBC News/MSNBC, will be our Fall Convention keynote speaker. This American hero demonstrates how focus, dedication and persistence can help you tap into your potential to succeed in any competitive setting. With an extraordinary career of service to our military, our nation and humanity, Mark has secured his place in history as a role model, modern-day pioneer, and leader of distinction. Together with his identical twin brother, Scott, he has laid the groundwork for the future of space exploration as the subjects of an unprecedented NASA study on how space affects the human body.
Day 2 Keynote Speaker Rob Talley, President, Talley and Associates, will cover the macro political landscape, current events and the outlook for legislative and regulatory issues significant to the electric energy sector. Attendees will come away not only with a better understanding of the current policy outlook but also with a framework to assess how the changing political outlook impacts the future of energy policy.
And finally we will close the event with the most popular session at our convention the past five years, the CEO Panel! You will hear from CEOs sharing their insights and vision for the future
CEO Panel is now on Tuesday!
) - this is a definite "Don't Miss!"
And of course, a variety of relevant topics will be discussed during our educational sessions. Get tips from the Disney Institute to align your organization with changing customer expectations; hear EPRI's discussion on how efficient electrification can impact an Integrated Energy Network; Jim Marston will talk about climate change and Trump; you'll learn about the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council's partnership with DOE; hear the investor community outlook of the current and future state of the electric utility industry; discover a tool NASA uses to promote innovation in finding solutions, and so much more.
Register and download the Fall Convention brochure
Everything great in this industry is because of the amazing people who keep the lights on. Thank you for your continued perseverance, hard work, creativity and passion for electricity!
EDUCATION AND UPCOMING EVENTS
Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events
RMEL MEMBER INFORMATION
Join RMEL's Groups on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
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 2017 RMEL Champions.
POWER magazine officially announced winners of its 2017 Plant of the Year Award, Reinvention Award, Water Award, Smart Grid Award, and Commercial & Industrial Generation Award. Capturing Carbon and Seizing Innovation: Petra Nova Is POWER's Plant of the Year - Building the first commercial post-combustion carbon capture system in the U.S. (it's also the world's largest such project) came with many challenges. But the $1 billion Petra Nova project came online on time and on budget with zero lost-time incidents in more than 1.78 million man-hours worked. These significant achievements helped earn it POWER's Plant of the Year Award.
Power was restored Thursday to two North Carolina islands after a weeklong outage that hit the local economy at the height of the lucrative summer vacation season. Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative announced that transmission lines were pumping electricity to all of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Visitors will have access to both islands starting at noon Friday, according to a statement from the governor. "Residents and businesses on Hatteras and Ocracoke are ready to welcome visitors back to share their beautiful beaches and unique history and culture," Gov. Roy Cooper said. Robin Jennette, a manager at Conner's Supermarket in Buxton on Hatteras Island, said the grocery store is stocked and ready for tourists to return.
The market data provided here are republished, with permission, from data collected by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and are updated biweekly. Currently, electricity products can be traded at more than two dozen hubs and delivery points in North America, and natural gas products can be traded at more than 120 hubs. The data posted under EIA's agreement with ICE represent eight major electricity hubs and their corresponding natural gas trading hubs. If a certain hub or time period does not appear, EIA does not have access to it through the above-mentioned agreement. The data and methodology would have to be obtained directly from ICE.
As part of its transformation plan, NRG Energy announced it will sell 6 GW of conventional generation and businesses, and from 50 percent to 100 percent of its stake in NRG Yield, which owns, operates and acquires renewable and conventional generation and thermal infrastructure assets. The company hopes to raise between $2.5 billion and $4 billion in cash proceeds from the sale. NRG indicated it is exploring strategic alternatives for its interest in NRG Yield, including partial or full monetization of its renewables platform. The goal of the moves are to simplify its corporate and business structures, reduce risk and decrease its net debt from $18 billion to $6 billion by the end of 2018. The company plans to have $6.3 billion in excess cash through the end of 2020.
The Environmental Protection Agency chief is in Colorado discussing coal and water. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt went to Cloud Peak Energy's offices in the Denver suburb of Broomfield Thursday. Cloud Peak operates coal mines in Wyoming and Montana. The EPA says Pruitt spoke about the agency's intent to promote environmental stewardship without costing coal industry jobs. He later visited the Frasier ranch in Woodrow, about 90 miles east of Denver, and criticized a water pollution rule established by the Obama administration. The Trump administration is rolling back the rule. On Friday, Pruitt is expected to tour an old gold mine in Colorado where the EPA triggered a 3-million-gallon spill of toxic wastewater two years ago. The EPA refused to confirm Pruitt's plans but state officials say he is expected to be there.
NB Power is proposing a project to ensure its 660-MW Mactaquac Generating Station can operate to its intended 100-year lifespan through equipment maintenance and replacement. Mactaquac is a run-of-river hydro facility with an installed capacity of 660 MW, supplying about 12% of New Brunswick homes and businesses with clean, low-cost power. The facility began generating electricity in 1968. Since the 1980s, concrete portions of the hydro station have been affected by a chemical reaction called alkali-aggregate reaction. The reaction causes the concrete to swell and crack and has required substantial annual maintenance and repairs.
First the Model 3 electric car. Now the solar roof. In just one week, Tesla has challenged two distinct industries with radically new products. Tesla has completed its first solar roof installations, the company reported Wednesday as part of a second-quarter earnings report. Just like the first Model 3 customers, who took their keys last week, the first solar roof customers are Tesla employees. By selling to them first, Tesla says it hopes to work out any kinks in the sales and installation process before taking it to a wider public audience. "I have them on my house, JB has them on his house," Musk said, referring to Tesla's Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel. "This is version one. I think this roof is going to look really knock-out as we just keep iterating." Tesla opened up its online store in May and began taking $1,000 deposits for smooth black and textured-glass roof tiles that are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing. From most viewing angles, the slick modern shingles look like standard materials, but they allow light to pass through onto a solar cell embedded beneath a tempered surface. The first installations were supposed to start in June. Tesla didn't say when the actual installations took place.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross welcomed the announcement from the Government of Ukraine that Ukrainian state-owned power generation company Centrenergo PJSC will purchase American thermal coal ahead of the upcoming winter season. Statement from U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: "In today's turbulent world, geopolitical turmoil can create uncertainty for nations without access to an abundance of their own natural resources. No one knows this more than Ukraine. In recent years, Kiev and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on. That changes now. The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative, and today we are pleased to announce that we will. U.S. coal will be a secure and reliable energy source for Centrenergo and its electricity customers. This announcement will also boost our own economy by supporting jobs in the coal and transportation industries. This Administration looks forward to making available even more of our abundant natural resources to allies and partners like Ukraine in the future to promote their own energy security through diversity of supply and source. Partnerships like this are crucial to the path forward to achieve energy dominance."
The University of Virginia continues to expand its portfolio of carbon-free generation and achieve key sustainability targets with another partnership announced with Dominion Energy. Under a 25-year agreement, the University will purchase the entire output of a proposed 120-acre solar facility in Middlesex County. The solar facility, developed by Coronal Energy, will be constructed and owned by Dominion Energy. It will produce an estimated 15 megawatts of alternating current, or about 9 percent of the University's electric demand. The UVA Puller Solar facility joins the previously announced UVA Hollyfield Solar facility. In total, the two sites will produce 32 megawatts of solar energy and will offset about 21 percent of the University's electric demand.
Westmoreland Coal Company (Nasdaq:WLB) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Roanoke Valley Power Facility ("ROVA") for $5 million in cash to ROVA Venture, LLC. "In December 2016, we amended our ROVA contract, relieving us from the obligation to operate the plant. This allowed us to more aggressively pursue the sale that we are announcing. Additionally, we continue to anticipate the return of approximately $10 million of cash collateral this year related to ROVA power contracts," said Kevin Paprzycki, Westmoreland's Chief Executive Officer. "Our team did a great job executing this transaction and maximizing the realized value for the asset. This sale and the collateral return are meaningful steps towards our 2017 goals of achieving final resolutions on our two non-core assets and strengthening our balance sheet."
Austin Energy, the City's community-owned electric utility, will receive an additional 200 megawatts (MW) of Texas wind power as a result of an agreement recently reached with Portland, Oregon-based Avangrid Renewables. The Austin City Council authorized the purchase on June 22. Austin Energy has a diverse portfolio of renewable resources. With the Avangrid contract, the utility will have 1,300 MW of wind power under contract. It has an additional 306 MW of utility-scale solar power in its portfolio, with another 320 MW coming online over the next 18 months. Once operational, the new site will have the capacity to produce enough energy each year to power approximately 54,000 average Austin Energy households with zero-carbon energy. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates three wind farms totaling more than 605 MW in South Texas along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Avangrid Renewables is finalizing its development work with the counties and plans to start construction in January 2019.
In an effort to provide much needed equipment to police and fire departments across Arizona, APS once again has donated $50,000 to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. Since 2014, APS has contributed $150,000 to the Foundation with funds benefiting first responders throughout APS's service territory. "At APS, we have a long history of supporting the work of Arizona's first responders," said Don Brandt, APS Chairman, President and CEO. "Our partnership with Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation puts life-saving safety equipment in the hands of firefighters and police officers who need it most, enabling them to keep our communities safe, while also protecting their own health and safety."
In 2016, the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation distributed more than $120,000 to Coolidge Police Department, City of Scottsdale Fire Department, Central Yavapai Fire District, Groom Creek Fire District, Morristown Fire Department and Black Canyon Fire District. Funding was used to purchase items like automated external defibrillators, self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs), and basic fire equipment like boots, helmets, fire hoses and chainsaws.
"This legislation better aligns tax guidelines and federal regulations regarding CO2 sequestration to encourage private industry and government to work together, innovate, and advance carbon capture and sequestration technology," said Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut. Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut announced the cooperative's support of federal legislation to encourage carbon sequestration. The bill, S. 1663, announced July 27 by bill sponsor U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), aligns tax guidelines with existing federal regulations in order to ensure taxpayers are better able to utilize the Section 45Q carbon sequestration tax credit. Co-sponsoring the bill are U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT); Roger F. Wicker (R-MS); John Barrasso (R-WY); and Thad Cochran (R-MS).
CPS Energy has agreed to further partner with the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), ensuring air quality data collection remains active at a half-dozen air monitoring stations across San Antonio and the surrounding area. While State funding for this work was recently eliminated, the new agreement between CPS Energy and AACOG will help both organizations keep up their efforts to effectively monitor San Antonio's air quality. CPS Energy will use an outside vendor to collect ozone and weather data from six stations in Bexar, Comal and Guadalupe counties currently maintained by AACOG. By combining the six stations with the two stations the vendor currently maintains for CPS Energy, the region will get efficiencies while still maintaining the quality and integrity of the data. Finally, CPS Energy has committed to installing a ninth monitoring station before next summer.
Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) and Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP) announced that both companies' boards of directors have unanimously approved a revised transaction that involves no premium paid or received with respect to either company, no transaction debt, no exchange of cash, and is a stock-for-stock merger of equals, creating a company with a combined equity value of approximately $14 billion. The new, combined company will provide electric utility service to approximately one million Kansas customers and nearly 600,000 customers in Missouri. The combined company will have a new name, yet to be established.
A nationwide study revealed that Lincoln Electric System's rates continue to rank among the lowest in the country in 2017. LES' annual National Electric Rate Study determined that the utility's rates, on average, rank 16th lowest among 100 cities surveyed nationwide, LES Director of Finance and Rates Emily Koenig said. "This study is an effort to monitor our affordability," Koenig said. "We like to provide our customers with an annual comparison to show our competitiveness with rates of other electric utilities all over the country." In the 2017 study, LES had the 16th-lowest rates overall when compared to 100 utilities (76 investor-owned, 24 municipal/public power) in cities with populations greater than 100,000, including at least one city from each state in the U.S. LES residential rates ranked as the 10th lowest in the study.
With the addition of a new wind facility, the Omaha Public Power District announced it is projected to provide approximately 40 percent of its generation from renewable energy sources when the facility comes online, currently scheduled for late 2019. OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Burke talked about the plans at the district's Board of Directors meeting. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will build the 160-megawatt Sholes wind facility in Wayne County, Nebraska. Construction is slated to begin in March 2019, and it is expected to be operational by December 2019. OPPD will purchase 100 percent of the facility's wind energy as part of a 20-year agreement.
Once again, thanks to Rocky Mountain Power customers, the company has received high national rankings for its voluntary Blue Sky renewable energy program. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently released its annual ranking of leading utility green power programs for 2016. For the ninth consecutive year, PacifiCorp - which includes Rocky Mountain Power and Pacific Power - ranks among the top three nationally in two categories.
PNM energized a new switching station in Albuquerque, located near Menaul and Carlisle. The new Switching Station will allow flexibility when crews need to work on equipment in the area, minimizing the amount of equipment taken off line for maintenance. During power outages, PNM will have the ability to reroute electricity to get customers back up and running a little quicker. PNM determined that the system serving this area had reached the limits of its capacity during peak summer demand periods. The new station will redistribute power from the most heavily loaded transmission lines to less utilized lines, mitigating the existing transmission limitations, and improving voltage in the area.
At the conclusion of public hearings held July 24 and 25, the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee recommended approval of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC), for a power line project that will help support economic development in the Chandler area known as the Price Road Corridor. The committee approval is the first step of the application submitted by Salt River Project to the Arizona Corporation Commission that proposes using Price Road as the route for a double-circuit, 230-kilovolt power line to be constructed from the existing Knox Substation to the RS-27 substation. SRP is seeking approval for 4.8 miles of a new overhead transmission line from the Knox substation to a new RS-27 substation. The line runs generally along the south side of the Loop 202 and then adjacent to the Gila River Indian Community boundary north of the substation site. A major portion of the line would be placed underground with the City of Chandler paying the difference between building the line overhead - SRP's standard - and the added cost of putting them underground.
In his decades of experience as a lead electric cooperative lineman, Cal Wolterman has had more than his share of close calls with motorists zipping by work sites on highways. Take the time Wolterman, his crew and their bucket truck from Estherville-based Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative were sandwiched between two speeding vehicles on a two-lane highway in northern Iowa. They had blocked off a lane when a tractor-trailer and another vehicle approached from opposite directions. "Instead of one vehicle waiting to use the other lane, they both used the other lane and the shoulder to go around our truck, barely missing the outrigger on the truck," said Wolterman, who escaped without injury. "We'll have signs and cones up, and we'll have a guy out there with a 'slow' sign, and they'll still fly by us at 60 miles per hour."
United Power Board President James Vigessa officially announced the promotion of John Parker to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the cooperative. Parker has served as United Power's Chief Financial Officer since 2006, and has been serving as interim CEO since the resignation of Darryl Schriver on June 8, 2017. "On behalf of the entire United Power board, we are pleased to announce the promotion of John Parker to CEO," stated Vigessa. "John's many years of service to United Power, coupled with his extensive experience in the cooperative industry is a great leadership match for this utility."
The world has changed drastically, and today's power grid has changed along with it. America's dependence on power has never been greater and its concerns of grid security never higher. Headlines state the threats - both from nature and humans - that could cripple the grid: 9/11, the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Metcalf incident, electromagnetic interference, cyber threats and more. Utilities are increasingly faced not only with delivering reliable service, but also anticipating and addressing potential threats to the nation's power supply.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is now providing customers with monthly, daily and hourly electric usage and energy demand information through the company's website and mobile apps. Customers can see how much energy they used each hour, day or month using My Energy Usage, a new feature on tep.com and the TEP Mobile App. They also can review their usage during on-peak hours and learn about their peak energy demand, which reflects their highest hourly energy use. Detailed data is available back to Jan. 1, 2017. Customers can view their usage and demand data from as recently as the previous day - even before their monthly bill arrives.
Chemists have figured out a new, more efficient way to create carbon-based fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2). In chemical reactions performed in the lab, a Caltech team has identified a new additive that helps selectively convert CO2 into fuels containing multiple carbon atoms -- a step toward ultimately making renewable liquid fuels that are not derived from coal or oil.
With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessible. With the ability to acquire more data, more advanced technologies are required to scrutinize and filter out the important information and the value held within. But, it can only be exploited by identifying what works well and what does not. Download the white paper to see why combining Machine Learning with the Industrial Internet of Things and Engineering Models will revolutionize asset management in the Electric Power Industry.