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CPSS Minutes - Spring 2019

Center for Power Systems Studies - Spring Meeting
NorthWestern Energy – Huron, SD
April 25, 2019

Call to Order

Steve Hietpas called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m.

Recording Secretary

Daniel Coomes – East River Electric Power Cooperative

Roll Call


Steve Hietpas                       CPSS Coordinator – SDSU
Steve Arbach                        NorthWestern Energy
Dan Coomes                        East River Electric Power Cooperative
Austin Hoekman                   MRES
Chad Orris*                          MidAmerican Energy

Associate Members

Russell Halgerson               Brookings Municipal
Joel Lankutis*                     POWER Engineers

Members Not Represented               

Basin Electric
Xcel Energy
Heartland Consumers Power District
Black Hills Energy
Otter Tail Power Company
* Participated via telephone conference call

Approve Agenda

Steve Arbach moved and Austin Hoekman seconded to accept the agenda as submitted. 
Motion carried.

Approve Minutes of Oct. 2, 2018 Fall Meeting

Austin Hoekman moved and Steve Arbach seconded to accept the minutes. Motion carried.

Coordinator’s Report

Report for the spring meeting was included in packet. Some of the highlights of the report were:

Power Course Update

  • Hietpas reviewed the new power courses and the changes with the energy Conversion course.
  • The Power Technology Tour will be taking place this summer.
  • Hietpas discussed the potential impacts with perusing a computer engineering program. Most notably was the impact to the future choice for upper level electives, the new program might compete with the existing power electives.

Power Faculty Update

  • The activities of faculty Hietpas, Tonkoski, Hansen, and Ni were reviewed. Please see details in the Coordinator’s Report.

Scholarship Activity

  • Hietpas reviewed the current status of the scholarships and gave a summary for 2019-2020. In total just under $190k awarded to EE students, about $46,650 from Power related companies.
  • Hietpas reported all students have been notified of their scholarships.
  • Review the current Scholarship Recipients, many good students.

Status of Power Students

  • Hietpas reported more power students in sophomore class compared with junior class.
  • Hietpas stressed the importance of good internships to expand the student’s view of the power industry.

Summer Power and/or CPSS Activity

  • Hietpas said they need to get started on planning for the 2020 SoDaRP Conference
  • Hietpas is organizing the Power Tour for this summer
  • IEEE EIT Conference coming up in May
  • Reviewed student survey results, Hietpas requested feedback on the survey questions from the CPSS members.

Membership Update

The member and contact list was passed around. Changes in contact information were provided as follows: Dan Coomes is the new representative for East River. Joel Lankutis is the new representative for POWER Engineers. Craig Fergen will be the new NWPS representative; Steve Arbach will be retiring from NWPS and starting with East River in May.

Committee Reports

2019-20 Proposed Budget Report (Hietpas)

  • We expect to lose Minnesota Power as a member, some adjustments will be needed to make the budget balance. Hietpas will make additional efforts to retain Minnesota Power as a member and should know before end of current FY.
  • Steve Arbach proposed the idea of raising rates $300 for full members to offset the deficit, with the possibility of increase scholarship awards if Minnesota Power retains its membership.
  • Joel Lankutis highlighted the value of the scholarships for the members of CPSS
  • Hietpas will review possibly changing the venue for the annual banquet vs. SoDaRP conference to help reduce costs.
  • Motion to accept the Budget Proposal was tabled for future vote. Hietpas will send out a revised proposal and conduct an email vote for approval.

2019-2020 Wayne Knabach Excellence in Power Award Selection

  • The committee considered three candidates:
    • Bob Schulte (Schulte Associates)
    • Jerry Tielke (Missouri River Energy Services)
    • Jim Edwards (East River Electric Power Cooperative)
  • The committee stated their support for Jim Edwards for the WEK Nomination.
  • The Motion to accept the WEK Nomination was tabled for a future vote. Hietpas will send out an email to conduct a vote.

2019-2020 Student Project Proposals

  • Reviewed two submitted projects: One related to package for DG interconnection and the second related to phase identification.
  • It was determined the phase identification project most likely already had commercial solutions and may not require enough engineering effort.
  • Chad, Nate and Kevin will meet and discuss the details/requirements for the DG interconnection project and will report this back to Hietpas.

Dean’s Report

  • Hietpas reviewed the Dean’s report from Dean Bruce Berdanier
  • George Hammer will continue to serve as the acting department head for EECS Department, most likely will not have a permanent solution until 2020.
  • Dennis Helder, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Dean of Research (College of Engineering) will be retiring June 14. Dean Berdanier hopes to have a replacement by spring 2020. Invitations for the retirement party will be sent out by Hietpas/EECS Staff with the specific information in mid May.
  • Stephen Gent (Associate Professor of ME) will serve as the acting ADR. 
  • Reviewed some of the recent achievements from SDSU from the students. The ME students with their Human Powered Vehicle, the Robotics club and their competition success on a national level, and the Civil steel bridge completion. Dean Berdanier is very supportive of these types of activities and had many good things to say about them.

Fall Meeting Date

Schedule for October 8, 2019

Expression of Appreciation

Motion was made by Austin Hoekman, seconded by Russell Halgerson, to express appreciation to Steve Arbach and NorthWestern Energy for hosting spring meeting. Motion carried.


The meeting adjourned at approximately 2:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Daniel Coomes – East River Electric Power Cooperative
Recording Secretary
April 25, 2019
Typed and Submitted April 29, 2019