Robert Kahn, executive director of Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition, died Aug. 8 after a brief battle with cancer, NIPPC said in a statement.
A key member of the Northwest energy community for years, Kahn was among the first to help promote wind development in the region, employing his skills as a strategic communicator.
He was also a founding director of Renewable Northwest Project, serving from 1993 to 1999.
He is best known as a fierce advocate for independent power producers, particularly in his position as NIPPC’s executive director since the group’s inception in 2002, a role that found him testifying before both state and federal regulators numerous times on behalf of his clients.
NIPPC said Kahn helped “grow it into a respected voice, advocating for the benefits of competition in electricity markets and the beneficial role” of independent power production in the Northwest.
Oregon PUC Chair Megan Decker said in a statement that Kahn was “truly one of the forces of nature that power the Pacific Northwest electric system,” noting that he “championed the power of competition to spur innovation and benefit utility customers.
“His absence will be deeply felt in the commission’s work and by everyone in the community who, like me, counted Bob as a friend and colleague,” Decker said.
Washington UTC Chair Dave Danner said in an email that Kahn “was a genuinely warm, funny, and well-rounded guy. For every conversation I’ve had with him about PURPA, I’ve also had conversations about Gram Parsons, Washington history . . . good wine, and the incredible musical talents of his daughter. He was a wonderful man. I’ll miss him.”
NIPPC said Kahn gave the group “a solid foundation,” and that its annual meeting in September will be dedicated to his spirit.
“Bob loved to say ‘Carry on!’ and NIPPC will heed that call as we move forward in honor of his service,” the coalition said.