Head of Bonneville Power Administration Retiresby Staff
Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 19, 2012
The Bonneville Power Administration's long-serving chief is stepping down.
Steve Wright was the acting BPA administrator in 2000, when the western US was struggling with an energy crisis. He served as permanent head for a decade and now says he's retiring in January.
BPA manages power – especially the hydropower from Columbia and Snake River dams. It's a federal agency, but carries out energy plans created by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council whose members are appointed by governors.
The federal Department of Energy is planning a competitive search to find a new BPA administrator by January. A BPA official says the idea is to insulate the hiring decision from political influence.
Under Steve Wright, BPA has tangled with environmentalists over the plight of threatened salmon, and more recently with the wind industry, over management of the energy grid.
In a statement, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu noted that Wright was "the rare chief executive" who'd started with an entry-level job.
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