PORTLAND — The Bonneville Power Administration has a new administrator. The U.S. Energy Department Wednesday named Bill Drummond to oversee the BPA.
Drummond currently serves as the BPA’s deputy administrator. He has worked in the energy industry for over 30 years. Drummond replaces Steve Wright, who announced last year that he would retire this month.
Bonneville Power markets energy generated by hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers and the Northwest’s one commercial nuclear plant. It also operates most of the surrounding power grid, distributing wind and other energy to the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
The announcement drew praise from the leaders of two groups that have a big stake in how the BPA operates.
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Executive Director Paul Lumley said he expects Drummond to carry on with Wright’s efforts to collaborate with the tribes when it comes to their treaty fishing rights. Hydrodams have been blamed for making it difficult for juvenile salmon to migrate downriver to the ocean, and for adult salmon to return to spawn in their native streams.
“We look forward to building on that foundation with Mr. Drummond and continue working on our mutual goal of rebuilding healthy and sustainable salmon populations throughout the Columbia Basin,” Lumley said.
Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of Renewable Northwest Project, praised Drummond’s experience working at BPA. She expressed hope he would use his experience to ensure that energy from wind farms and other renewable electricity generators would be allowed onto the grid. That’s been a source of conflict — especially for wind farms — which need access to the grid at the same time electricity from hydrodams is in abundance.
“Bill’s open and honest style will serve him well as the region addresses the challenge of modernizing the electric system to strengthen our current assets and prepare for future clean energy opportunities. We look forward engaging with him on these important issues,” Shimshak said.
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