TransAlta announced Feb. 4 that President and CEO Dawn Farrell will retire March 31 after leading the company for almost a decade. John Kousinioris, COO and president of subsidiary TransAlta Renewables, will succeed her. In a statement, Farrell said, she was proud of the company's "momentous multi-year transformation . . . from a primarily Alberta-based, coal-fired electricity company into a leading clean and renewables-focused electricity company spanning three countries." Under a 2011 agreement with Washington, TransAlta shuttered the first of its two 670 MW coal-fired plants in Centralia on Dec. 31, per a 2011 agreement as part of ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The other unit will close at the end of 2025.
Missoula County and the cities of Missoula, Helena and Bozeman are collaborating to develop a new green tariff with NorthWestern Energy. The four governments have negotiated an interlocal agreement and are in the process of hiring an energy sector consultant, who can bring technical expertise to the negotiations with NorthWestern, said Diane Maneta, Missoula County's sustainability manager. NWE was directed by the Montana PSC in 2019 to develop a new green tariff program to allow customers to support renewable energy. The cities and Missoula County's priority is that the tariff supports new generation, rather than paying for RECs from already existing projects, Maneta said.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance announced new officers for its board of directors in January. Cory Scott (Pacific Power) takes over as chairman of the board. Mike Colgrove (Energy Trust of Oregon) is vice chair; Scott Coe (Emerald PUD) is treasurer; Theresa Drake (Idaho Power) is secretary; Holly Braun (NW Natural) is the member-at-large; and Andrew Grassell (Chelan County PUD) is the past chairman.
The Energy Northwest board of directors elected its current slate of officers to an additional two-year terms on Jan 27. Commissioners Curt Knapp (Pend Oreille County PUD), Dave McKenzie (Skamania County PUD), and Kenneth Collins (Jefferson County PUD) will remain as president, vice-president and secretary, respectively. M.L. Norton (Centralia City Light general manager) will continue as assistant secretary. The 27-member board represents the 22 PUDs and five municipal utilities that make up Energy Northwest, and has sole authority to authorize and terminate projects.
Kelcey Brown has been named president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, taking over for Adam Wright, who has become COO at Pacific Gas & Electric. Brown had been vice president of energy supply and management at Portland-based PacifiCorp, where she’d worked since 2011. Prior to joining PacifiCorp, Brown was a senior economist at the Oregon PUC.
The Grays Harbor County PUD board of commissioners on Jan. 4 unanimously approved Schuyler Burkhart to succeed outgoing General Manager Dave Ward. Burkhart will serve as assistant GM until Ward retires March 1. Burkhart joined Grays Harbor PUD as its engineering director in 2014. He came from Tacoma Power, where he spent more than 20 years, and was most recently a senior supervisor in its transmission and distribution section. Ward took over as general manager in 2013, and has spent 36 years in the electric power industry.