RMEL e-Newsletter June 2017
RMEL Report
From the Desk of Richard Putnicki, Executive Director, RMEL
Wow, the Spring Conference wrapped up on May 23rd, and we are still getting attendee feedback and emails acknowledging a great event, noting the quality of the speakers assembled along with the relevance and timeliness of the topics. The conference had record-breaking utility participation this year and more than 360 total attendees and a new Spring Conference RMEL Foundation Silent Auction raised more than $3,000 for scholarships. The success for this event started with the members who participated in the planning session back in September 2016. They were able to identify the pertinent topics for the tracks as well as prospective presenters on the topic.  All members are invited to participate in the 2018 Spring Conference Planning Session this October . I also want to thank the Board and our volunteer Section Committees for taking the baton from the planning event and assisting in filling session gaps and, most of all, promoting the event within their professional network. 

I would be remiss without acknowledging our gracious host utility and city!  Thank you, Tim Burke, CEO of Omaha Public Power District, for welcoming RMEL members to your great city. Thank you, Tom Osborne, for the fantastic keynote address that was a spark for many conversations throughout the conference. And thank you, Coach, for continuing that message with our Emerging Leaders.  All of the speakers were just outstanding and the exhibitors and RMEL Champions complemented the educational program with helpful solutions and discussion. I'm very confident that attendees picked up strategies to "adjust their game plan for future success."   

The spirit of RMEL - by members for members, was especially strong at this conference: from Tom's keynote, to breakout sessions focusing on Generation, Transmission & Distribution and Management, to Emerging Leader Award winners, RMEL Champions-sponsored networking receptions, the RMEL Foundation dinner honoring 43 scholarship winners, to the Executive Panel on the final morning of the conference.  We may not have solved all the industry's problems in one conference, but shared much conversation regarding the hurdles and obstacles in the power industry today, and that's pretty important. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated.

(FOR BEST VIEWING: Turn up your speakers and maximize your browser window)

Keynote speaker Tom Osborne kicks-off the educational program.
Productive discussions covered strategies and technology.
Executive panelists shared valuable insights from utilities across the country.

The momentum continues as we jump into an RMEL summer full of great e vents:

Transmission Planning and Operations Conference
Reliability, Asset Health and Technology Best Practices
June 22, 2017 * Lone Tree, CO
This conference addresses subjects related to transmission operations and maintenance, such as the interface of information technology and operations technology, reliability coordinator's role in operations, application of SWAGE type transmission connectors , transformer issues in the industry, determining the asset health index for transformers/circuit breakers/T-Lines, reliability centered maintenance programs and workforce topics.

2017 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament
Tournament sells out each year! Sign up early and reserve your spot.
June 28, 2017 * Littleton, CO
The 2017 Golf Tournament benefits the RMEL Foundation scholarship program. The RMEL Foundation provides scholarships to deserving and qualified university/college students focused on engineering or curriculum related to the electric energy industry with the intent of encouraging students to pursue a career in the electric energy industry. The Foundation also provides scholarships to those pursuing an electric industry position certificate or associate degree at a college (community college, four-year college or a four-year university).

Plant Management, Engineering and Operations Conference, Round Table and Plant Tour
Meeting the Challenges of Market Transition
July 26-27, 2017 * Austin, TX
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. 

Transmission Project Management Workshop
Strategies to Successfully Plan, Manage and Control Projects
August 2-3, 2017 * Golden, CO
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.

Leaders Developing Future Leaders Workshop
A Powerful Workshop By and For Today's Leaders and Emerging Leaders Who Have Their Eye on the Future
August 16-17, 2017 * Lone Tree, CO
Nobody has a more important role in developing our industry's future leaders than the leaders of today. Today's leaders must identify those with leadership potential, gain their commitment, and ensure their development.

Safety Roundtable - August 2017
24/7 Work Injury Helpline
August 25, 2017 * Golden, CO
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.

Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention
Ingenuity and Innovation:  The Power Industry's New Frontier
September 17-19, 2017 * Tucson, AZ
The 2017 RMEL Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention is the premier event for power industry executives to 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. It's time for 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. Join us September 17-19, 2017 at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ.

We look forward to seeing you this summer and fall as you continue to build your ideas, contacts and strategies!

Don't Miss These Upcoming RMEL Events

Transmission Operations and Maintenance Conference --- June 22, 2017 (Lone Tree, CO)                            
2017 RMEL Foundation Golf Tournament --- June 28, 2017 (Littleton, CO)
Transmission Project Management Workshop --- August 2-3, 2017 (Golden, CO)                          
Leaders Developing Future Leaders Workshop  --- August 16-17, 2017 (Lone Tree, CO)  
Safety Roundtable - August 2017 --- August 25, 2017 (Golden, CO)
2017 Fall Executive Leadership and Management Convention --- September 17-19, 2017 (Tucson, AZ)
Planning Session: 2018 Spring Conference --- October 5, 2017 (Lone Tree, CO)
Distribution Engineers Workshop --- October 11-12, 2017 (Lone Tree, CO)
Renewable Planning and Operations & Environmental Conference --- October 18-19, 2017 (Lone Tree, CO)
Safety Roundtable - November 2017 --- November 3, 2017 (Fort Collins, CO)


Join RMEL's Groups on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
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. Click here to see a list of the 2017 RMEL Champions.
President Trump's Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget seeks $479.8 million for the Office of Fossil Energy (FE). The request includes:
  • $280 million for Fossil Energy Research and Development (FER&D), which includes research and development and program direction for the programs in Carbon, Capture and Storage and Power Systems; Natural Gas Technologies; and Unconventional Fossil Energy Technologies; as well as funding for the National Energy Technology Laboratory's infrastructure, operations, and research and development; and
  • $199.8 million for the Office of Petroleum Reserves, which includes the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and related Petroleum Account, the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, and the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.
Back in 1956, Sierra Pacific Power Co. constructed a new 60-kV transmission line from the town of Minden, Nevada, to Stateline, California, to serve the growing customer loads on the southeast shores of Lake Tahoe. Flash forward to 2016, and Sierra Pacific Power is now NV Energy, and the line that served its purpose for so many years has to be rebuilt. Following are images of the construction process, all featured in T&D World's "Electric Utility Operations" section in May 2017. NV Energy linemen conquered mountainous terrain, deep canyons and swampy ground.

The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) went into effect as Illinois law on June 1st and will result in some immediate savings and a few line item changes on ComEd residential customer monthly statements. FEJA, energy legislation that passed the Illinois General Assembly with broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Rauner last year, helps to pivot Illinois to the new clean economy by growing renewable energy resources and significantly expanding energy efficiency programs that help customers save energy and money. The immediate savings on customers billing statements are a result of the temporary removal of the energy efficiency charge of about $2 per month and will help offset a new $1 charge that begins in June to support zero-carbon energy supplied to Illinois.


Unit 3 of the Takahama nuclear power plant in Japan's Fukui prefecture was restarted today, plant owner Kansai Electric Power Company has announced. Takahama 4 - which had also been kept offline since March 2016 by a court injunction - was restarted last month, joining three other reactors in operation. Kansai said the 830 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor (PWR) was restarted at 2.00pm today and is expected to achieve criticality tomorrow. The company plans to resume electricity generation at Takahama 3 and reconnect it to the grid on 9 June "as the final stage of the periodic outage inspection following various types of tests". It added that "full-scale operation" of the unit will resume in early July after completion of the comprehensive inspection performed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).
The United States remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2016 for the fifth straight year despite production declines for both petroleum and natural gas relative to their 2015 levels. The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when U.S. natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and it has been the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when its production exceeded Saudi Arabia's.
With President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, China and California signed an agreement Tuesday to work together on reducing emissions, as the state's governor warned that "disaster still looms" without urgent action. Gov. Jerry Brown told The Associated Press at an international clean energy conference in Beijing that Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement will ultimately prove only a temporary setback. For now, he said, China, European countries and individual U.S. states will fill the gap left by the federal government's move to abdicate leadership on the issue.
Energy Storage North America (ESNA), the most influential gathering of policy, technology and market leaders in energy storage, announced that this year's Conference and Expo will offer a comprehensive program focusing on global electricity market transformation and the transition to a distributed, customer-centric power grid. "Energy storage is positioned to catalyze global energy market transformation by enabling a cleaner, more efficient, smarter power grid," said Janice Lin, Energy Storage North America Conference Chair. "This year, ESNA will host delegates from around the world, all of whom will learn from the many storage success stories, market insights and technology breakthroughs that are at the heart of the conference. This is an exciting time to be in the industry, and ESNA will be the focal point for global energy storage education, networking and deal-making."
The 778-MW, combined-cycle Stonewall Energy Facility owned by Panda Power Funds has achieved commercial operations ahead of schedule. Bechtel provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the facility in Loudoun County, Virginia. The two companies have now collaborated on four facilities. "We have been working with Bechtel for years and they continue to deliver value for us," said Todd Carter, president and senior partner of Panda Power Funds. "This state-of-the-art facility is one of the cleanest power plants in the United States and is already providing power for one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation."
Customer service is a "feast or famine" function. If done well, the benefits can be enormous-even viral. When handled poorly, these instances are almost guaranteed to go viral (in a way no brand manager wants). Headway Capital provides an infographic that details 10 steps to giving excellent social media customer care.
El Paso Electric (EPE) is pleased to announce the commercial operation of its newest solar facility at the EPE Eastside Operations Center Campus in Far East El Paso. This 3,000 kilowatt (kW) facility is home to EPE's Community Solar Program and is the largest community solar facility in the state of Texas. May 31, 2017 marked the official commercial operation of the community solar facility. The pilot program was fully subscribed in just one month since the opening of subscriptions in mid-March, with about 1,500 customers enrolled. Due to the large demand and interest in the program, EPE is looking for ways to expand the Community Solar Program to even more of our Texas customers and bring the program to customers in New Mexico in the future.
Kansas City metro experienced the most growth of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the United States, for the second quarter in a row, and widened the gap between other cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Denver. With a 78 percent growth from 2016 to 2017, the KC region has transformed into a hot spot for electric vehicles. According to 2017 first-quarter numbers released by IHS Automotive and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Kansas City tops the nation in electric vehicle growth. Since deployment of the KCP&L  Clean Charge Network began in 2015, the metropolitan area has experienced a 95 percent increase in electric vehicle adoption. In addition, Kansas City was awarded number one in driver and charging station growth by ChargePoint, a manufacturer of EV charging stations, in 2016.
At its regularly scheduled May meeting, NPPD's Board of Directors awarded an approximate $1.5 million construction contract with Steele Roofing and Construction, Inc., of North Platte, Nebraska to complete renovations on what will be NPPD's new Ogallala Operations Center. The Ogallala Operations Center will combine three existing NPPD facilities in Ogallala - a retail customer service/distribution center, a substation garage/shop building and a telecommunications/substation technician building. "Consolidating our operations will provide efficiencies and improve customer service," explained NPPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent.
At their monthly meeting today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors approved the appointment of Javier Fernandez as the district's new vice president and chief financial officer. Fernandez comes to OPPD from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), U.S. Department of Energy, in Portland, Oregon. He has been with the federal power marketing organization since 2012, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He previously served as senior vice president of Fixed Income Capital Markets for D.A. Davidson & Company and vice president of Public Finance for Seattle-Northwest Securities Corporation. He holds a bachelor's degree in Economics, a master's degree in Business Administration from Yale University and a Utility Management Certificate from Willamette University.
They help keep the lights on, appliances running and houses cool in one of the most dangerous jobs in the energy industry. And this week nearly 200 linemen from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), in partnership with Rocky Mountain Power, will go head to head in the 24th Annual Utah Lineman's Rodeo on June 10. Justin Halloran, Rocky Mountain Power lineman and chairman of the Lineman's Rodeo Committee, said the event is not only an exciting way to showcase the type of skill linemen must develop, like speed climbing and rescue, but also an opportunity to demonstrate new technology and the latest methods to stay safe.
Santo Domingo Pueblo, in partnership with PNM, Ugo, and Nissan will dedicated the first electric vehicle charging station along the I-25 corridor between Albuquerque and Santa Fe on May 11th. "Today's unveiling of the new electric vehicle charging station is our tribe's continued commitment in meeting the growing needs of our traveling public. In addition to our gift shop, café, and convenience stores, we can also now claim to be the first tribally owned full service station," said Santo Domingo Pueblo Governor Robert B. Coriz.
Thanks to the generosity of customers who donated to the SRP Solar for Nonprofits program, much of the energy powering the Desert Botanical Garden will be as green as a spring desert landscape. The Salt River Project customer-funded program helped finance solar installations on four buildings' rooftops that cumulatively add up to 100 kilowatts. The solar systems are providing green power to the Garden's Horticulture Center; Weisz Learning Center; Marley Education and Volunteer Building, and Ottosen Gallery. The SRP Solar for Nonprofits program donation is covering the bulk of the installation costs including racking, inverters, wiring and labor. These costs were funded by the more than 3,600 SRP customers who donate as little as $3 each month to help nonprofit organizations around the Valley utilize solar energy. First Solar donated the systems' photovoltaic panels.
More than 100 people attended the Alta Luna Solar Project ribbon-cutting ceremony March 16, celebrating the completion of the 258-acre, 109,239 solar panel facility in Luna County, near Deming, New Mexico. Tri-State will purchase power from the project for 25 years under the terms of a power purchase agreement with project owner D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments. Arizona-based DEPCOM Power will provide ongoing operations and maintenance services and Columbus Electric will supply station service power to the facility.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) awarded $125,000 in grants today to help eight local nonprofit groups develop educational opportunities for kids, care for our environment and provide assistance to youth and families in need. TEP's Community Impact Grants will be used by local nonprofit groups to provide food, clothing and housing to homeless children, support job training in science and technology fields, and provide veterinary and rehabilitative care to injured and orphaned wildlife. "We award Community Impact Grants to support the work of incredible nonprofit groups that make Southern Arizona a better place to live," said David G. Hutchens, TEP's President and CEO. "What better way to commemorate TEP 125th anniversary than investing in the success of efforts that will improve our customers' quality of life for many years to come."
Past Westar Energy/Haines-Weber Scholarship winner Loan-Oanh "Mimi" Thi Nguyen, thought college was not an option three years ago. This year, she is a senior at Wichita State University studying Management Information Systems and Accounting and this summer interning with Westar Energy. Mimi Nguyen is joining Westar at 6 p.m. on June 6 at Top of the Tower restaurant, downtown Bank of America building, 534 S. Kansas Ave., to share her heartfelt story and congratulate this year's scholarship recipients. Other speakers at the banquet include Mark Ruelle, Westar Energy president and CEO and Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education.
A good snowpack is great for more than just Colorado's ski resorts; it also serves as water storage for generating hydroelectric power. Western Area Power Administration's customers in its Rocky Mountain Region are benefiting from the strong water year in the form of more hydropower. For wholesale customers of its Loveland Area Projects, WAPA bases the available amount of marketable federal hydropower on the Bureau of Reclamation's reservoir operation plans. Due to high snowpack and an ample spring runoff, Reclamation projects that generation through June will exceed the amount already committed to LAP customers.  
University of Houston physicists have discovered a catalyst that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen, composed of easily available, low-cost materials and operating far more efficiently than previous catalysts. That would solve one of the primary hurdles remaining in using water to produce hydrogen, one of the most promising sources of clean energy.