Stowater marks five years with Heartland

Much like the industry, the energy marketplace is constantly evolving. Perhaps no one understands this more than Heartland Director of Market Operations McCord Stowater.

As markets adapt, so must he in order to help navigate our public power utility through a changing energy landscape.

Stowater recently marked five years with Heartland. During his tenure, there has been a natural progression of responsibilities as we’ve continued to explore new opportunities to best serve customers.

What has remained steadfast is his promise to help Heartland provide the most reliable, lowest cost energy for customers.

Responsibilities evolved with operations

A 2014 graduate of South Dakota State University, Stowater joined Heartland in February of 2015 as energy scheduler. His primary responsibilities were performing market operations tasks on behalf of Heartland and our customers.

This included daily forecasting and energy scheduling, dispatch of resources and energy accounting.

When Heartland successfully integrated its operations within the Southwest Power Pool eight months later, Stowater’s duties changed significantly.

He became responsible for developing and submitting load and generation schedules for Heartland’s resources–an elaborate process due to outside influences such as weather, unit capabilities, market prices and more.

He also acquired additional duties on behalf of customers who receive Western Area Power Administration allocations, creating forecasts and producing load schedules to be used by WAPA.

Renewables impact job

While his role at Heartland hasn’t changed much since the switch to SPP, the factors impacting Stowater’s duties continue to unfold.

“The aspects of the industry have changed since I started,” he said. “Renewables–more specifically wind–have made huge impacts to the wholesale electric markets. Wind generation creates a highly volatile market due to the unreliable nature of wind itself.”

In addition to wind, large-scale renewable generation and roof-top solar have become more prevalent in the region. These along with future technologies could present an interesting yet challenging future.

“With the next frontier of large-scale storage, or batteries, there will be adaptation challenges for the industry. The benefits of storage could offset the reliability issues related to renewable generation and could be a real game-changer,” he said.

Valuable team member

In addition to daily tasks, Stowater has taken steps in the past five years to improve his overall job performance.

He graduated from Leadership Madison in 2016, a training program of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.

He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Dakota Wesleyan University in the fall of 2018. This achievement led to a new job title of director of market operations in 2019 which better reflected his all-encompassing role.

“McCord is a very talented employee and valuable member of the Heartland team,” said Heartland Chief Operations Officer Nate Jones. “Throughout his tenure, the marketplace has continued to evolve, and he navigates it with ease all the while continually improving our energy marketing processes.”

Stowater lives in Madison with his fiancee, Nicole. The couple is set to be married this fall. In his free time, he enjoys waterfowl hunting, ice fishing and any outdoor activities.

Congratulations McCord!