BPA chief Steve Wright to retire in January
By Erik Siemers
Steve Wright will retire as CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration in January. He's been with the federal power agency since 1981 and has been its leader since November 2000.
Bonneville Power Administration Steve Wright said he will retire at the end of January after more than 12 years leading the powerful Portland-based federal electricity distributor.
"It has been a great honor to serve in an agency that has such a tremendous impact on the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest," Wright said in a news release. "It has been my goal since graduating from college to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world. In no place could I have had more of an opportunity to do so than at BPA."
The nonprofit BPA, celebrating its 75th year in operation, is a self-funded division of the U.S. Department of Energy that markets the wholesale electricity from 31 hydroelectric dams along the Columbia River and the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant near Richland, Wash.
That makes it one of the Northwest’s most powerful federal agencies. It also makes its decisions a target for critics, such as its practice over the past two years of curtailing wind energy production along the Columbia River during periods of peak hydropower production.
In a news release, Wright said he has “tremendous affection” for BPA’s responsibilities. That’s why he’s giving several months’ notice of his retirement, so that the BPA has adequate time to identify and train a replacement. Wright will stay through the end of January to help with the transition.
The Department of Energy will oversee the process of finding a new administrator, with the decision being made by Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman.
"Steve Wright is the rare chief executive who worked his way up from an entry level job to the highest ranking professional at the Bonneville Power Administration and this speaks to his outstanding skill set and abilities," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a news release. “I thank him for his work as a civil servant during his time at the Bonneville Power Administration and congratulate him for his leadership achievements."
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