The Energy Jobs

As GTM’s Stephen Lacey has reported, New York’s top utility regulator, Audrey Zibelman, is moving on from her position. Australia’s energy market operator announced that Zibelman will be taking over as chief executive. The organization, called AEMO, operates wholesale power markets, wholesale natural-gas markets, trading hubs and gas transmission systems throughout Australia. Zibelman leaves New York’s Public Service Commission at a delicate time. The state is two and a half years into Reforming the Energy Vision, the utility reformation plan announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014.

Last Thursday, FERC Chair Norman Bay announced his early resignation. He broke the news after President Trump chose Cheryl LaFleur to serve as the new chair next year. Carolyn Elefant tells NPR: “I think [Bay] was perhaps disappointed that Commissioner LaFleur was elevated above him. The resignation could mean costly delays for some major pipeline projects.”

Energy storage provider Sunverge named former Nexant CTO and GM Martin Milani as its first COO. The company also named two new members to its board of directors:John Di Stasio, former CEO of Sacramento Municipal Utility District and current president of the Large Public Power Council; and Elisabeth Brinton, executive GM of Australian energy retailer AGL Energy.

Sheldon Kimber and Todd Johansen, both previously with Recurrent Energy, have founded Intersect Power, “an infrastructure development company bringing clean power to wholesale markets.”

Aclara Technologies, a supplier of infrastructure solutions to electric, gas and water utilities, named Aaron Merkin as its first CTO. Before joining Aclara, Merkin was CTO of ABB Enterprise Software (formerly Ventyx) and chief software architect of its grid automation practice. Aclara is owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners.

Boris Schubert, previously with previously with ET Capital, is now GM of solar operations at Shell.

Solar tracker vendor Array Technologies named Jeff Krantz, previously VP of sales at SMA, as senior VP for North America.

Energy storage provider Alevo named Peter Heintzelman, previously with T5 Oil & Gas, as group CFO. Alevo, a battery manufacturing aspirant with mysterious sources of big funding, has moved a little closer to commercial deployment of its sulfur-based inorganic lithium-ion electrolyte chemistry. The first commercial deployment for the big battery is in the city of Lewes, Delaware, where it will enable the “repurposing of a retired oil-fired generator building once operated by the Lewes Board of Public Works.” Alevo is hoping to sell ancillary services into the PJM regulation market.

ExxonMobil announced that Dr. Susan K. Avery was elected to its board of directors. Avery, an atmospheric scientist, is the former president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her appointment is in response to a longstanding request from shareholders to appoint a climate expert to its board.

John Berdner has joined HiQ Solar, a builder of commercial 3-phase inverter technology, as VP of regulatory compliance. Berdner most recently was with Enphase, and before that SMA and SolarEdge. Berdner is active with IEEE 1547, UL 1741, National Electrical Code, and the Calif. Smart Inverter Working Group.

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Enertech Search Partners, an executive search firm with a dedicated cleantech practice, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column.

Among its many active searches, Enertech is looking for a Distributed Response Operations Manager.

The client is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies aiming to expand the team for an internal startup. The parent company is expecting to invest about $1 billion into this early-stage business focused on distributed energy for large energy users. By combining traditional and renewable power, energy efficiency, demand response, generation, advisory services and big data and other digital assets, they help their customers capitalize on the new and more flexible energy landscape and move from consumers to prosumers and even grid service providers.

This client is currently seeking a Demand Response Operations Manager who will reside on the Customer Success Team. They are looking for an individual who will lead the North American team responsible for demand response retail operations in utilities and all ISOs, including PJM, NYISO, ISO-NE, MISO and ERCOT. This will include oversight of all post-sale customer interactions and operational steps and is responsible for the ongoing customer experience.

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Elise Hunter joined flow battery developer Primus Power as director of business development. Previously Hunter was an expert analyst of energy storage at PG&E. Primus has raised more than $60 million from Anglo American Platinum, Chrysalix Energy, DBL Investors, I2BF Global Ventures, KPCB, DOE, ARPA-E and the CEC. Primus uses a single-loop flow battery design, plating zinc on titanium-based electrodes to perform the key energy exchange function, rather than running electrolyte through membranes.

As reported by GTM, “According to the Department of Energy’s latest report on jobs in the energy sector, employment in the electric power sector rose 13 percent in 2016 as utilities and developers built new power plants, replaced aging equipment, and invested in new technologies to manage an increasingly complicated distribution grid. There are now 860,869 people employed in the electric power sector, an increase of more than 101,000 jobs from 2015. Workers in the construction industry building solar, natural gas and wind power plants accounted for most of the increase, reported DOE.”

The new members of the Advanced Energy Economy board of directors are Roger Flanagan, managing director, Lockheed Martin Energy; Mike Garland, CEO, Pattern Energy; Arjun Gupta, executive chairman, Nexant; Paul Kaleta, EVP and general counsel, First Solar; Dan Shugar, CEO, NEXTracker, a Flex company; and Aziz Virani, CEO, CLEAResult.

The confirmation hearing of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), started in mid-January.

Pruitt’s LinkedIn page describes him as “a national leader in the cause to restore the proper balance of power between the states and federal government. […] Scott filed the first lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda, and is leading a multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank financial law.” Pruitt joins Ben Carson at HUD, Rick Perry at the Department of Energy, and Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education in having rather unorthodox views regarding the direction of the government agencies they could potentially lead.

“Republicans only need 50 votes to confirm [Pruitt], and there have been no signs of GOP defections,” according to political news website The Hill.