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CPSS Minutes - Spring 2021

Center for Power Systems Studies
Spring Meeting
Otter Tail Power Company
April 15, 2021

Call to Order

Steve Hietpas called the meeting to order at approximately 12:50 p.m.

Recording Secretary

Ted Smith, Sioux Valley Energy

Roll Call


  • Steve Hietpas                       CPSS Coordinator – SDSU
  • Todd Bockorny                    Black Hills Energy
  • Dan Coomes                        East River Electric
  • Nate Jones                            Heartland Consumers Power District
  • Austin Hoekman                 Missouri River Energy Services
  • Christian Winter                   Minnesota Power
  • Craig Fergen                         Northwestern Energy
  • Joe Dold                                Otter Tail Power Company
  • Mark Bucholz                      WAPA
  • Todd Myers                          WAPA
  • Jean Waltz                            Xcel Energy

Associate Members    

  • Russ Halgerson                    Brookings Municipal Utilities
  • Blair Metzger                       DGR Engineering
  • Joel Lankutis                        Power Engineers Inc.
  • Ted Smith                             Sioux Valley Energy
  • James Turner                        STAR Energy Services
  • Bert Magstadt                      Watertown Municipal Utilities                      

Members Not Represented:             

  • Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • MidAmerican Energy Company
  • Burns and McDonnell
  • Electric Consultants Inc.
  • Rushmore Electric Power Cooperative
  • Power System Engineering Inc.
  • T&R Service Company
  • Ulteig Engineers
  • West Plain Engineering Inc.

Approve Agenda

Nate Jones moved and Joe Dold seconded to accept the agenda as submitted. 
Motion carried

Approve Minutes of Oct. 6, 2020 Fall Meeting

Mark Bucholz moved and Jean Waltz 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
    • With the addition of Dr. Sid along with Dr. Tonkoski and Dr. Hansen, SDSU is offering a broader number of courses than ever before.
    •  A new biomedical materials faculty member will be starting in the fall of 2021.
    •  Dr. Hietpas teaches Circuits I and II,
    •  Dr. Tonkoski awarded the Hobach award.  He is involved with a fairly large grant along with two different senior design projects.
    •  Dr. Tonkoski and Hansen are both involved with a project with two other universities.
    • Dr. Hansen is involved with two honor students and their papers.
    • Dr. Sid had a Ph D student along with him from CSU.
  • Power Faculty Update
    • The activities of faculty Dr. Hietpas, Dr. Tonkoski and Dr. Hansen were reviewed.
  • Scholarship Activity
    • Dr. Hietpas is now the chair of the Scholarship Committee.
    • Scholarships to EE students are up 47% from the previous year.
    •  Power related scholarships are 41% of EE Student Scholarship awards
  • Status of Power Students
    •  Roberto Penaloza Valencia received the $6,000 CPSS Scholarship
    •  CPSS general scholarships were awarded to sophomore and junior students.
    • Wayne Knabach scholarship awarded to Tyler Fogelson.
    •  SDSU is #1 in scholarships in our region but still second to University of Illinois, Urbana.
    •  Matt Stoel was awarded the 2020 IEEE PES Erich W. Gunther Future Power Innovator Scholarship recipient.
    • 28 first year students in first year (14% in power)
    • 12 second year students in EE (50% in power)
    • 21 third year students in EE (29% in power)
    • 18 graduating seniors in EE, 8 in power (44%), all have jobs lined up.  
  • Summer Power and/or CPSS Activity
    • Dr. Hietpas is serving on the CPSS 2022 SoDaRP Conference Planning committee and coordinating the EE 494 Internship Experience.
    • Dr. Tonkoski is collaborating with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and remotely attending PowerTech 2021, Madrid, Spain.
    • Dr. Hansen is collaborating with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and remotely attending PowerTech 2021, Madrid, Spain.  
    •  Dr. Sid is pursuing research tasks associated with the NSF research awards and remotely attending PowerTech 2021, Madrid, Spain.

Membership Update

The member and contact list shared by email.  Changes in contact information were requested submitted via email directly to Steve Hietpas, who will compile changes into the master document.

Committee Reports

  • 2021-22 Proposed Budget Report (James Turner, STAR)
    • Power Technology Tour is not planned in 2021 due to COVID
    • Dr. Tonkoski and Dr. Sid are planning a field trip to Alaska to work on their grant, proposed to bring 2-3 students along on this field trip.
    • Austin Hoekman moves to use the $4,000 to support graduate student travel for grant meeting to be held in Alaska. Dan Coomes seconded the motion. Motion carried.
    •  There will be approximately $5,000 remaining in the budget for graduate student salaries.  It has been proposed that this amount be carried over until next fall for salary support for graduate students.    James Turner moved that $5,000 be carried over for graduate student salary support.  Joe Dold seconded.  Motion carried.
    • It has been proposed that approximately $1,500 of the R&D area to support the purchase of new computers for power faculty.
    • It has been proposed that approximately $1,700 in unspent funds be reallocated into the scholarship fund.  James Turner moves that we move $1,700 to general scholarship fund.  Austin Hoekman seconded. Motion carried.

       Nate Jones moved and Todd Myers seconded to accept the Budget Proposal as submitted.  Motion carried.

  • 2021-2022 Wayne Knabach Excellence in Power Award Selection
    • The committee ….. recommends that Ray Wahle from MRES be awarded the Wayne Knabach Excellence in Power Award for 2021. Mark Buckholz moved and Russ Halgerson seconded to accept the WEK Nomination.  Motion carried. Dr. Hietpas will inform Ray Wahle.
  • 2021-2022 Student Project Proposals
    • The CPSS membership was polled on both March 25 and April 8 for any projects that member organizations have in the works or planned that may be worthy of a senior design project.
    • Nate Jones reported that at this time they do not have any projects to offer for a Senior Design Project.
    • Dr. Tonkowski, Dr. Hansen and Dr. Sid will be asked if they have any projects that may be a desirable senior design project. 
  • 2022 South Dakota Regional Power Conference Status Update
    •  Dan Coomes updated the group on the following possible topics for the conference.
    • COVID-19
    • SPP/TRE Cold Weather Event
    • Changing business environment for electric utilities
    • MISO long range transmission plan
    • Natural gas plant development
    • Converging, Emerging Technologies
    •  How can we better interact with our consumers
    •  FACTS devices

Fall Meeting Date

Schedule TBD – Early to Mid October – waiting for SDSU to finalize policy to see if visitors will be allowed on the campus.  Engineering job fair is in mid October.

Expression of Appreciation

Motion is made by Mark Bucholz, seconded by Nate Jones, and carried, to express appreciation to Joe Dold and Otter Tail Power Company for hosting spring meeting.


The meeting adjourned at approximately 2:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Ted Smith
Recording Secretary
April 15, 2021
Typed and Submitted May 9, 2021