RMEL e-Newsletter July 2017
From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL
As we all get ready to celebrate our Nation's Independence tomorrow, even amongst the political strife we are facing today, let us all not forget the fundamental principles on which our country stands. As we think about those solid principles, many of us will reflect on how fortunate we are to be involved in the American Power industry. You all ensure the reliability, affordability and safety of this country's electricity. Thank you for that!
When you take on the challenges involved with moving this industry forward, I hope the RMEL network is part of your strategy. You can find contacts at utilities and services and supplier companies right now on RMEL's eDirectory (let us know if you need your member login). Of course, you can also experience the sharing of best practices at RMEL's events. 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. Attend this convention to hear from CEOs sharing their insights and vision for the future (CEO Panel is now on Tuesday!); get tips from the Disney Institute to align your organization with changing customer expectations; hear how efficient electrification can impact an Integrated Energy Network; discuss changing political influences on our industry; hear the investor community outlook of the current and future state of the electric utility industry and so much more.
We can collectively transition to a revolutionized electric energy business model. It's an opportunity-rich environment to take charge of the change you want to see. This event provides a trusted venue to discuss new ways to leverage existing technology to minimize costs and maximize operations while delivering solutions that are more aligned with changing customer expectations. As the industry seeks a refreshed approach to find talent and encourage ideas from non-traditional resources, and this is the place to spark those ideas and seize the power of invention. Register and download the preliminary Fall Convention brochure.
The road to the Fall Convention is paved with many other great topics and speakers at conferences, workshops and roundtables this summer, including:
Market changes from RTO's, generation portfolios, distributed resources, and environmental regulations are forcing power generation facilities to meet significant challenges regarding reliability, flexibility, facility decommissioning and managing the workforce. This conference will provide deep insight from specialists that are meeting these challenges, and will provide opportunity for highly interactive roundtable discussions of specific issues you may be facing.
Regardless of the types of projects that you work, they all require you to have sound project management skills in order to successfully plan, manage and control the projects. This course provides in-depth discussions and applications to help you become a more disciplined, well-organized and highly effective project manager.
Nobody has a more important role in developing our industry's future leaders than the leaders of today. Come hear from today's leaders on how they identify those with leadership potential, gain their commitment and ensure their development. Are these the skills and tools you use to develop your staff? And on the other side, what are you doing to manage your career development and preparing yourself for future leadership opportunities?
The roundtable kick off presentation will focus on services provided by WorkCare's Work Injury Helpline: a service to employees who suffer from a work-related, non-emergent injury or illness. This service provides employees immediate telephonic access to a nurse and/or physician who will provide medical advice on appropriate medical care for that injury/illness. Terri Mallozzi, RN- Nurse Case Manager, WorkCare Inc., contracted with Xcel Energy, will discuss the benefits to receiving medical advice on either self-care measures or scheduling a clinic visit if that is the recommended treatment route. Terri will cover how this provides reassurance to the injury/ill employee and feedback we have received from employees that have used this service.
Have a safe and Happy 4th of July Holiday! We hope to see you soon!
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Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking member, have introduced S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, according committee statements. The bill, which is focused on a wide range of energy and natural resources opportunities and challenges, features 11 "titles reflecting common ground on efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, conservation, federal land management, National Park System management, sportsmen's issues, water infrastructure, natural hazards, and Indian energy," the statement noted.
A pair of electric cooperative priorities have passed the U.S. House of Representatives and are headed to the Senate. For the second time in less than two years, the House approved a measure that would make it easier for co-ops to maintain rights of way on federal lands. The Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, H.R. 1873, cleared the chamber June 21 on a bipartisan 300-118 vote. On June 20, the House passed legislation to provide more equitable treatment of nonprofits, such as co-ops, that own nuclear power projects. H.R. 1551, sponsored by Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., also eliminate the 2020 construction deadline for new nuclear power plants to be eligible for tax credits established under a 2005 law.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced the approval of two long-term applications to export additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project in Lake Charles, LA. Additional exports in the amount of 0.33 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas are approved from Lake Charles's proposed liquefaction facility. The two non-additive authorizations for the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project have been issued to Lake Charles Exports, LLC and Lake Charles LNG Export Company (the Lake Charles Companies) authorizing additional exports of domestically produced LNG from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project to any country in the world not prohibited by U. S. law or policy. The Energy Department previously authorized the Lake Charles Companies to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2 Bcf/d of natural gas to any country in the world not prohibited by U.S. law or policy from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project. Now, with further engineering of the planned project, additional design capacity has been realized and the Energy Department is authorizing an additional 0.33 Bcf/d of exports from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project.
SMUD, as the owner of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, supports efforts in Congress to advance off-site storage for spent nuclear fuel at permanent and interim storage facilities. SMUD is particularly encouraged to see the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act progress out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill, H.R. 3053, would advance federal efforts to consider licensing a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain. It authorizes the Secretary of Energy to enter into benefits agreements with the state of Nevada and its localities, and clears hurdles in various federal laws to using the land at Yucca Mountain for waste storage.
Fossil fuels have provided more than 80% of total U.S. energy consumption for more than 100 years. Since 1928, when consumption of natural gas surpassed that of biomass, the three fossil fuels-petroleum, natural gas, and coal-have been the most consumed fuels in the United States. In 2016, fossil fuels accounted for 81% of total U.S. energy consumption, the lowest fossil fuel share in the past century. In 2016, the renewable share of energy consumption in the United States was 10.5%. This was the largest renewable share since the 1930s, when overall energy consumption was lower and the amount of biomass consumption (mainly wood) was relatively high. The greatest growth in renewables over the past decade has been in solar and wind electricity generation. Liquid biofuel consumption-more than half of which is ethanol blended into motor gasoline-has also increased in recent years, contributing to the growing renewable share of total energy consumption.
The Ohio Supreme Court says an energy company is allowed to pass on the $55 million cost of cleaning up two polluted sites to its customers in the form of an added charge on their monthly bills. Duke Energy has been adding $1.67 to bills in Ohio for about three years to help pay for the cleanup of two long-closed facilities in Cincinnati. A spokeswoman says the charge will likely continue for two more years. The Supreme Court ruled last week that cleanup costs can be treated like other business expenses. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy inherited the plants from another company. They were closed in 1928 and 1963, but cleanup had been a low priority because there was little public access to the sites.
General Mills announced it has a 15-year power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems for the 150-MW Cactus Flats wind project under development in Concho County, Texas. The company will purchase renewable energy credits to apply toward its carbon emission reduction goals. "As we help mitigate the impacts of climate change, investing in wind energy is the right thing to do," said John Church, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain at General Mills. "This investment is another step towards reducing our energy footprint and achieving sustainable emission levels - in line with scientific consensus - by 2050."
Coined the Cartersville Mobile Substation Installation, this solution was the first 230/115-kV mobile installation of its kind in North America. When it was time to rebuild a portion of the 115-kV radial Bremo-Cartersville transmission line in Cumberland and Fluvanna counties, Virginia, Dominion Energy immediately equated the rugged terrain - specifically a steep bluff - with a costly temporary line, right-of-way access challenges and safety concerns for its crews. However, Dominion Energy is no stranger to innovation, especially when it comes to serving more than 2.6 million customer accounts in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
The 21st annual Cool House Tour opens Sunday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with some of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes in Austin. All the homes on the tour are built to the highest standards of energy efficiency, comfort and sustainable design. Austin Energy Green Building celebrates rating more than 13,500 single family homes since creating the first ever green building rating system in 1991.
Basin Electric's Member Services and Administration Department includes member and communication services, procurement, and strategic planning. Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Paul Sukut has announced that Chris Baumgartner has accepted the position of senior vice president of Member Services and Administration at Basin Electric. Baumgartner previously served as co-general manager/CEO at Innovative Energy Alliance, providing general management and executive leadership to KEM Electric Cooperative, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, Roughrider Electric Cooperative, and Slope Electric Cooperative.
Black Hills Energy received Colorado Public Utilities Commission approval to add up to 60 megawatts of renewable energy to serve its customers in southern Colorado. The addition of new generation was part of the company's approved 2016 Electric Resource Plan and 2018-2021 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan, which is completed every four years, and ensures Black Hills Energy is able to meet customers' electricity demand with cost effective resources and comply with Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard.
CPS Energy was named the Public Power Utility of the Year award by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) for the utility's forward thinking in new generation sources and using technology on the grid to facilitate access to distributed energy resources. CPS Energy is an industry leader for its diversification of its energy portfolio while embracing renewable energy and new technologies to meet its energy demands. The utility is installing battery storage and distributed generation such as solar panels to both improve reliability and reduce the demand for electricity.
El Paso Electric's (EPE) Summer College and High School interns announced their company-wide program for this year's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative. This year's interns are addressing the community issue of domestic violence. As part of their initiative, they will hold an educational Awareness Week at EPE's Stanton location on the week of July 10, which will focus on teaching EPE employees about a wide range of topics related to domestic violence. The project includes a partnership with the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (CASFV), and fundraising efforts will go towards furnishing a new emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Lincoln Electric System is ready for the next step in its latest long-range planning process with the second Integrated Resource Plan public meeting. This meeting focused on reviewing recent LES Administrative Board decisions regarding the Sustainable Energy Program benefit/cost metrics and related input assumptions. Feedback was also be requested regarding the upcoming analysis of various supply- and demand-side resource options.
During committee meetings this morning, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors discussed a planned public review of board policies. These policies help with decision-making processes, and they provide clarity on the relationship between the board and OPPD management. A board policy workshop is set for Monday, July 24. It will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Nebraska-Omaha's Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, Room 201. The event is open to the public; however, there will be no public commentary at that time. Those who wish to provide feedback may do so by visiting oppdlistens.com or during future board meetings. The board will consider all comments before voting on revisions.
PacifiCorp is asking three states for regulatory approval to move forward with a plan to significantly expand the amount of wind power serving customers by 2020. Regulatory filings in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, which will be made by June 30, seek to advance the company's Energy Vision 2020 initiative. The plan will upgrade or "repower" the company's existing wind fleet with longer blades and newer technology, add approximately 1,100 megawatts of new wind, and build a new 140-mile Gateway West transmission segment. The repowering investments will be made in Wyoming, Oregon and Washington. Most of the investments in new wind and transmission will be in Wyoming.
A measure to keep the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near Page, Ariz., operating through 2019 has been approved by the Navajo Nation Council. The Navajo Council voted 18-4 to approve the replacement lease and related agreements. Some work remains to address certain language included in amendments approved by the Navajo Council. The NGS owners are hopeful this can be resolved with the Nation by July 1 and that the plant will continue operating until the end of the current lease on Dec. 23, 2019.
Learn about how a tree becomes a power pole, causes of power outages, and vegetation management.
New Horizon Mine, located in Nucla, Colorado, and owned and operated by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, will cease coal mining and begin reclamation activities. To help employees with the transition, Tri-State negotiated a memorandum of understanding with representatives and members of the United Mine Workers of America that will be in place during the reclamation process and the retirement of the mine. "For many years, our employees have done outstanding work to safely mine and steward the land," said Tri-State CEO Mike McInnes. "We've addressed key issues and reached a fair agreement that provides continuity for employees wishing to work during the reclamation process, while being flexible to accommodate the needs of those seeking other opportunities."
As a cooperative, our United Power employees always pay close attention to the needs of our members. Finding ways to better serve our members is a priority at every employee level - and a goal we as a cooperative continue to strive for. Late last year, a group of employees participating in a leadership program were challenged with finding the best way to better serve our members. Their solution - the addition of another facility located in the west side of our territory.
Using a display with live power lines, Tucson Electric Power employees regularly give demonstrations about how to stay safe around electrical equipment. TEP has been giving free electrical safety presentations at schools, science fairs and other community events for nearly two decades to teach customers and their children about the dangers of power lines and poles and electrical devices at home.
Presenters provide tips on what to do if a power line falls on your car or if your electrical box gets damaged. The presentations are part of TEP's ongoing commitment to educate the community about safety. These efforts also include its Stay Away, Stay Alive public outreach campaign and other school programs.
Driven by $1.8 billion of capital investments made in recent years and proposed for the next several years, Xcel Energy filed its 2018-2020 natural gas regulatory rate review. This multi-year plan ensures that the company meets the needs and expectations of its customers for safe, reliable and affordable energy. Xcel Energy has invested approximately $300 million a year in capital improvements since its last base rate review in 2015. It proposes a similar level of annual capital investments with its proposed 2018-2020 multi-year plan. As part of its pipeline integrity program, the company has removed all known cast iron pipe and more than 350 miles of vintage plastics and steel. These historic and future capital expenditures are designed to further improve safety and reliability, build system resiliency and diversify energy supply.
For industries operating in an inherently dangerous environment, the importance of selecting the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can't be understated. It's equally important to consider the critical roles of proper implementation and maintenance when it comes to the safety of workers and the soundness of an organization. The many rules and requirements provided by various agencies and organizations can be overwhelming. Broad regulations alongside incredibly detailed standards and guidelines can be frustrating, confusing and tedious. This whitepaper is to help guide safety managers through the process of selection, use, care and maintenance of FR (Flame-Resistant) and AR (Arc-Rated) clothing.
In recent years, increasingly volatile and extreme weather events have significantly impacted the operations and bottom lines of many utilities. Contributing to the problem are obsolete grid assets and a lack of automation, both of which can make it difficult to predict and prepare for the impact of weather threats. Customers also have greater expectations in regard to operational resilience. Adding to the pressure, social media puts utilities at an increased risk for public scrutiny if unhappy customers complain openly about poor outage response times. In addition, there is greater regulatory and political scrutiny over outages.