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Cal ISO Taps Portland-based Executive
Elliot Mainzer as Its New CEO

by Mark Anderson
Sacramento Business Journal, August 7, 2020

The timing of Mainzer's departure is noteworthy

Elliot Mainzer has been appointed administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration. The California Independent System Operator has tapped the CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration to be the next leader of the Folsom-based nonprofit that manages 80% of California's electric grid.

Elliot Mainzer, currently head of Portland, Oregon-based Bonneville, will start at the end of September to replace Steve Berberich, who is retiring after 14 years with Cal ISO, nine of them as its CEO.

"Elliot's demonstrated success leading a large, complex power and transmission organization will serve Cal ISO, our customers and stakeholders well," the Cal ISO Board of Governors said in a news release. "We are happy to have a leader so knowledgeable about integrating renewables and passionate about building on Cal ISO's organizational strengths and momentum toward low-carbon electricity."

Bonneville is a self-sustaining federal agency that manages the marketing and distribution of 23,000 megawatts of power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Northwest, along with power from a nuclear plant and several small power plants. It also operates many of its transmission lines and interconnects to states in the West. Mainzer has worked at Bonneville since 2002, and he has been the CEO since 2013.

Mainzer, a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and Yale University, was selected after a competitive nationwide search, Cal ISO reported.

Berberich during his tenure led efforts to shift California's grid to clean resources, including solar, wind and storage. He also was in charge in 2014 when Cal ISO created the Western Energy Imbalance Market, which connects electric systems, grids and producers in much of the West. The Western Energy Imbalance Market, operated by Cal ISO, now represents 82% of the electric load in the West. In July this year, the imbalance market passed $1 billion in economic savings by being more efficient in the use of power through Western states.

Cal ISO operates out of a purpose-built 278,000-square-foot building in Folsom, where engineers control and balance the supply of power over 25,526 miles of electric lines in the state, as well as balance with system operators in other states. The system operator also has a remote backup center in Lincoln.

Related Pages:
New Leader Appointed to Bonneville Power Administration by Staff, Statesman Journal, 1/27/14

Mark Anderson
Cal ISO Taps Portland-based Executive Elliot Mainzer as Its New CEO
Sacramento Business Journal, August 7, 2020

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