What is Energy Storage Really?

The electric power grid is facing a number of challenges from the technological change across the power system and increasing severity and frequency of natural and man-made threats. As the generation mix rapidly evolves throughout the country, technologies that provide additional operational support to the grid will become more valuable. Part of that process will require the industry and the government to build and validate business cases based on a firm regulatory framework that meet requirements such as flexibility, reliability, resilience, sustainability, and grid stability. This effort requires a holistic approach to identify technical and regulatory solutions that is coordinated with the industry and the government. One technology that is crucial to the next evolution of the nation’s electrical grid is advanced energy storage.


Message from the General Manager – 2020 is Over! 2021 is Here!

A year ago, I wrote about how we were looking toward a bountiful harvest in 2020 as the year prior (2019) was spent planting the seeds for things to come. Little did we know what we were about to face with the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The pandemic created new challenges, both professionally and personally, that we all had to experience, learn and navigate through while trying to keep the services we provide at the highest level. We can only imagine the complications this created for all of you, especially our members who provide the essential services to your city and citizens.

For us, the challenges created by the pandemic, albeit not as significant as yours, happen to come during one of the busiest years for your agencies. We had several significant items that occurred over the last year: (i) the startup of KMEA’s first electric line crew in Dighton occurred in May, (ii) six new cities (Arma, Blue Mound, Chetopa, La Harpe, Lindsborg and Moran) began taking power supply realizing up to 40% savings from their prior contractual power supply arrangements in June, (iii) purchase of the Mid-States assets was completed in July allowing our agency to provide much needed engineering and field services; (iv) work on two large construction projects in Anthony and Moundridge continued; and (v) significant progress on potential new gas services for our KMGA membership was made.

We are truly thankful for the guidance, leadership and the support of the entire membership which allowed for the successes we had during 2020 despite the challenges we faced. As I hoped a year ago, we now can enjoy the harvest this past year from the seeds that you provided us in 2019.

But now it is time to put 2020 in the past and move on to 2021. We have several new opportunities that we are exploring including a second line crew in the eastern part of the State, continued development of gas services program for our gas members, potential of a substation maintenance program, and adding additional members to our EMP groups and to our gas agency to name a few.

With the utmost sincerity, thank you for allowing us to serve you and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

Paul Mahlberg
General Manager

Quiz: How attractive is your utility?

Utilities might not be thought of as employers of choice at first, but they certainly have many of the common factors that employees value. Here are a few questions to get you thinking about how you present yourself to prospective (and current) employees and where you might have areas to improve your odds of landing — and keeping — a pool of employees with the right fit for you. Choose the response that sounds the closest to your utility.

1. How does your compensation compare to similar employers in your area?
2. People could probably make more elsewhere, but a job is more than salary.
3. We’re on par with utilities in our region, I think.
4. We have competitive salaries, and we have a process to regularly benchmark them against utilities and other area employers.

Read More…

Where We Came from and Where We Are Going

We are quickly approaching the end of the year that marked the 40th Anniversary of KMEA. I wanted to have one more look back at where KMEA came from and the cities that made this exceptional agency possible today.

We have found the “Minutes of Annual Meeting of Members of Northwest Kansas Power Agency.” These minutes are from a meeting held at the Ramada Inn in Colby, Kansas on April 27, 1976. This meeting occurred approximately four years before KMEA was created by State Law.

Sharing public education resources in December

To help raise awareness of public power in your community, we encourage you to join APPA and other public power utilities across the country in sharing public education resources in December. We’ve listed some helpful resources below that you can use in your social media posts, newsletters, and other customer communications. Use the hashtags listed below the resources as well as #PublicPower. You can also simply repost/retweet/share every day from our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram feeds.

Happy Holidays from Public Power

Community Powered New Year Resolutions Toolkit

Holiday Safety Social Media Toolkit

Winter Energy Saving Tips

NWS Winter Safety

Resolve to be Ready Social Media Toolkit

You can find lists of other days of the year that you can leverage for social media content here and here.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact us at News@PublicPower.org.

WAPA, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska and others to evaluate SPP membership

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) on Nov. 12 reported that it has received letters from several western power entities committing to evaluate membership in the organization.

If they pursue membership, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) would become the first members of SPP’s regional transmission organization to place facilities in the Western Interconnection under the terms and conditions of SPP’s open access transmission tariff.

Read More…

KMEA/Dighton Line Crew Assists with Community Veterans Banners

The idea of creating banners for Veterans came about when the teachers in the Dighton School District were trying to come up with a cross-curricular activity.

The Graphic Design students designed the template for the banners and the entire school voted for the final one, MJ’s Stitching & Screening printed and prepped the banners for hanging and the KMEA Staff was excited to play a small role in hanging the banners.

The Changing Electric Industry

In the last 15 years the electric industry has evolved the most through the changing mix in resources for electric generation. In the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s the building of coal plants was a thing of the times. Nuclear was struggling due mainly to massive cost overruns for nearly every nuclear project that was undertaken. Coal plants were reliable (and still are), and a known technology making them less complicated to build than nuclear.

KMGA Gas Services Project

Through the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency(KMGA) strategic planning process and continued discussions with our members, KMGA realized the need for many of our cities to have access to help with required gas services in the operations of a natural gas system.

In an effort to provide support and aid with this need, KMGA is pleased to inform you of our “Gas Services Project”. 

City of Garden City Wins Excellence in Public Power Communications Award!

Forty-two public power electric utilities and utility organizations earned Excellence in Public Power Communications Awards from the American Public Power Association. The awards were presented during APPA’s virtual Customer Connections Conference (October 27-28).