Hesston police chief receives Medal of Valor

HESSTON, Kan. (KWCH) Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder Tuesday was honored by President Donald Trump with the Medal of Valor for his life saving actions during the workplace shooting at Excel Industries in 2016

“The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for public safety officers and is awarded for exceptional acts of heroism, extending above and beyond the call of duty,” Hesston City Administrator Gary Emry says. “This award signifies Chief Schroeder’s exemplary action during a time of crisis which saved many lives and is well-deserved.”

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KMEA Is Hiring

The Kansas Municipal Energy Agency is currently accepting applications through March 9, 2018 to fill a System Operator position. The System Operator position will be working shift work to cover 24/7 operations to provide energy management services to KMEA member cities. This position is located at the KMEA office in Overland Park, Kansas.

Candidates must be proficient in the use of Microsoft office applications and should have knowledge of the electric utility industry. A college degree or technical training in the electric industry is preferred.

KMEA offers a competitive employee benefit package. The pay range starts at $16.83 per hour depending on knowledge and experience. For more details on the position and to apply click here!

That Darn Weather

By far the biggest cause of power interruptions in 2017 was weather events. With two major hurricanes striking the U.S. just weeks apart the power industry’s resilience was tested once again. The response in the field and the restoration of electric service to thousands of homes and businesses was amazing. Not wanting to be outdone, 2018 has already produced a weather event that affected millions of people. The “bomb cyclone” as it has been called tested the entire northeastern U.S. Record levels of natural gas were consumed for power generation and the electricity price soared. The U.S. Department of Energy has detailed the event and it’s affect on the power markets in the attached article. It goes without saying that with all the planning and weather forecasting we still can’t avoid the hazards of nature.


Employment Opportunity

The City of Eudora is seeking qualified applicants for the position of  Director of Public Works.

Go to:  www.cityofeudoraks.gov for more information.

Employment Opportunity

The City of Chapman is currently accepting applications and resumes for the position of Journey Lineman/Lineman Apprentice

Go to:  http://chapmanks.com/employment-opportunities/ for more information.



What Will 2018 Bring?

2017 flew by and here we are starting a new year. The past year was an interesting time for the electric industry. The price of electricity, wind generation installation, solar construction, and the abundance of natural gas has changed the industry for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Department of Energy is looking to find ways to sustain the coal and nuclear plants and the construction of a nuclear generation plant was halted mid-project. The industry has gone through a lot of growing pains but the good news for the consumer is that energy prices are lower than they have been for years. I found an interesting article that provides some insight into what we can expect in the power sector for 2018.


Can America’s power grid withstand a brutal winter?


by Terry Jarrett

Maybe you have to live in the Northeast — or even Southeast United States — to get the full effect. But right now, much of the country is struggling through brutally cold weather. It’s not uncommon to see temperatures down in the teens across much of the South. And record sub-zero temperatures in the North have many recalling the “polar vortex” of 2014.

Home heating bills will surely be climbing this month as the mercury plunges. But there’s a more troubling problem emerging. As Bloomberg News is reporting, the nation’s electric grid has begun to show signs of “fatigue” as power plants churn in overdrive to meet heavy demand. Oil burning power plants in New England are running short on fuel. And some of these plants may reach end-use limits due to emissions restrictions.

New England faces the added challenge of lacking sufficient natural gas pipeline capacity to cover increased electricity usage during the latest cold snap. In contrast, however, some areas of the country have been able to ramp up more successfully — thanks to robust coal capacity. PJM Markets reports that coal cranked out 47,000 megawatts of electricity this past weekend, compared to only 21,000 MW for natural gas. And nuclear power also exceeded gas-fired power generation, delivering roughly 35,000 MW. Notably, wind turbines offered only a paltry 3,000 MW.

Coal and nuclear plants have long anchored baseload power generation in the United States. And clearly, during the current chill they are proving their mettle — with all of America’s 99 nuclear power stations in operation right now to help keep the grid intact.

There’s an important lesson here — akin to the old adage “You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.” The renewable energy crowd that haughtily lobbies for a wide-eyed transition to wind and solar believes the nation can simply close down coal plants and make a bold leap into “green energy.” But as the latest round of frigid weather demonstrates, it’s a very good thing to have sturdy, baseload power on hand when it’s suddenly needed.

All of this doubly matters because America has lost an unprecedented amount of baseload capacity in recent years. Since 2010, more than 60 gigawatts of coal capacity has disappeared — enough electricity to power 40 million homes. And by 2020, an estimated 80 gigawatts of coal capacity will have been shut down.

Thankfully, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has identified this pressing concern for the nation’s power sector. And in response, he has proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission give added weight to baseload coal and nuclear plants that maintain on-site fuel supplies — and thus can run independently and long-term to shoulder the weight of a heavily taxed power grid.

In a week, FERC is slated to make a decision on Perry’s proposal. But as the current, harsh winter demonstrates, Americans need to appreciate the importance of baseload power plants that are keeping them warm and safe right now. Coal and nuclear plants still produce 50 percent of the nation’s electricity, and they are indeed working overtime right now to keep the grid afloat. Thus, Secretary Perry is wise to take a real-world approach to future energy use.

Polling shows that 70 percent of voters favor a diverse mix of fuel sources to maintain grid reliability and affordable power. And so, coal and nuclear power must continue to serve as sturdy twin pillars of a reliable, national electric grid. And with the population of the United States continually growing, it makes sense to upgrade existing baseload plants over the long term — to ensure that the nation can continue to keep its lights on and its homes, schools, and hospitals warm.

KMEA Staff and Members attend KMU Day at the Capitol

This year’s program featured: • Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, • Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, • Chairman of the House Taxation Committee Steven Johnson, and • Chairman of the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee Joe Seiwert. Members and Staff had the opportunity to meet with legislators over lunch and joined KMU for a legislative reception following the days activities.

John Sweet Retirement Reception

Staff attended a retirement reception for John Sweet on January 17th.  John has been the City Administrator at the City of Lyons since January 2002 and plans to retire March 30th.  Throughout the years, John has been a strong advocate for the City of Lyons, the State of Kansas and KMEA/KMGA member cities.  John will now have the time take long helicopter rides and embrace the gift he was given, a book entitled “How to Overcome Shyness”, with step-by-step instructions, exercises, and proven advice for dealing with shyness in any situation.  We all wish John the best as he begins the next chapter in his life!