By Jeannine Anderson
APPA News Editor
May 18, 2017

In what it said is believed to be a first for the energy industry, the Imperial Irrigation District in California reported May 16 that it has successfully demonstrated the emergency black start capability of its state-of-the-art battery energy storage system.
Black start is the process of restoring an electric power station, or a part of an electric grid, to operation without relying on the external transmission network.
On May 10, the district’s new battery energy storage system, which went online in October 2016, successfully supplied the electricity needed to start IID’s 44-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas turbine at the El Centro Generating Station. To stabilize the power plant, the battery energy storage system then converted, by design, to become an energy load consumer, the public power utility said in a May 16 news release.

Public Power Lines
By Sue Kelly
President & CEO, American Public Power Association
MAY 1, 2017

“I couldn’t have electricity in the house. I couldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapors seeping about,” exclaimed Dowager Countess Lady Violet Grantham, the grande dame of Downton Abbey. Imagine her horror if she were to see cars plugged into houses and electric heat in place of those well-tended fires in every room!

Lady Grantham’s apprehension is the underlying theme of the story of electricity use through the ages. While it may have seemed magical — or precisely because it seemed magical — people did not immediately embrace the use of electricity until they discovered its convenience.

We saw the evolution even in Downton Abbey — the subtle adaptation to technology to make life easier. The maid Daisy, who’s terrified to turn on the lights, soon becomes a savvy user of the electric mixer, much to Mrs. Patmore’s chagrin. And Mrs. Patmore, like the rest of the servants, eyes the electric sewing machine of the new maid Mrs. Baxter with suspicion, but she resorts to using it when she needs to quickly fix her hem. Mini disasters occur with toasters and curling irons before they are accepted for the wonders they can work.

Today, we continue to see the adoption of technology in the face of initial apprehension, if not resistance. This is true of every sphere of life — smartphones, ride-sharing, digital assistants — but especially of energy use.

By Brian Harrell, CPP
Director of Security and Risk Management
Navigant Consulting
May 17, 2017

Brian will lead a pre-conference seminar on How to Develop a Physical Security Plan for Your Utility at the American Public Power Association’s Engineering and Operations Technical Conference.

Protecting North America’s power grid is no easy job. Many people work round the clock to ensure that our electricity is reliable, resilient, and secure in the face of growing natural and man-made threats.

By Jeannine Anderson
APPA News Editor
May 17, 2017

Many regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in recent years are burdensome for electric utilities and have costs that outweigh their benefits, the American Public Power Association told the EPA on May 12.

Among the rules and regulations that the public power group said should be repealed or modified are the Clean Power Plan rules on carbon dioxide for existing power plants and for new, modified and reconstructed plants; effluent limitation guidelines for steam electric power plants; a rule on regional haze; and a rule on coal combustion residuals.

The Association submitted its May 12 comments in response to a Federal Register notice that the EPA published on April 13 following an executive order issued by President Trump on Feb. 28, 2017.

By David Osburn

General Manger, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority

May 16, 2017

Public power utilities in Oklahoma face many challenges, not unlike those in other states. This is true both at the local and state level. Nobody is exempt from these challenges, whether it be the municipal utility or its wholesale joint action agency. Recently, the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority board of directors took some actions in an effort to address these challenges. The two key steps are creating a scholarship for city personnel to attend the American Public Power Association’s National Conference and the establishment of a multi-year campaign to promote the value of public power in Oklahoma.

By Jeannine Anderson
News Editor
May 15, 2017

On May 11, President Trump signed an executive order on cybersecurity designed to protect federal government networks and critical infrastructure, including the nation’s power grid. In a statement issued the same day, the American Public Power Association voiced support for the executive order and said that, “As threats evolve, so too must the efforts of industry and government to mitigate them.”

The executive order directs the secretary of Energy and the secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the director of National Intelligence and state local, tribal and territorial governments, to jointly assess “the potential scope and duration of a prolonged power outage associated with a significant cyber incident” against the U.S. electric sector and to assess the nation’s readiness to manage the consequences of such an incident and to identify “any gaps or shortcomings in assets or capabilities required to mitigate the consequences of such an incident.”

By Jeannine Anderson
APPA News Editor

May 10, 2017

On Monday evening, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to fill two of the three vacant commissioner slots at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, the two nominees would restore a quorum to the agency.

By Paul Ciampoli 
APPA News Director

May 9, 2017

One hundred ten of the nation’s more than 2,000 public power utilities earned the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service, the Association reported on May 8.

David Lynch, assistant director of utility operations at Michigan’s Marquette Board of Light and Power and chair of the Association’s RP3 review panel, presented the designations on May 8 during the Association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference held in San Antonio, Texas.

By Jeannine Anderson
APPA News Editor

Ten draft bills pending before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy “represent the beginning of our effort to modernize our energy infrastructure,” said Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, at the start of a three-hour hearing on May 3. The hearing focused on ways that Congress could make it easier for hydropower projects and pipeline projects to be approved.

By Brett Brenner
President, Electrical Safety Foundation International

May is National Electrical Safety Month and the Electrical Safety Foundation International continues its annual campaign to inform the public on how to reduce hazards at home and in the workplace.

This year’s campaign highlights important changes in the new 2017 National Electrical Code with ESFI’s fourth edition of the National Electrical Safety Month publication, Electrical Safety Illustrated. This magazine includes tips on workplace and home safety. The latest issue, “Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution,” informs readers on the new changes made in the 2017 National Electrical Code. The issue provides industry standard safety upgrades and guidelines to remain on par with the national code.