The Department of Energy has picked Bill Drummond as the new administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration.
Drummond, the BPA deputy administrator since October 2011, replaces Steve Wright, who is retiring in February after 12 years as administrator.
"Drummond has a stellar track record during his time at BPA and throughout his career in the energy sector, and I am fully confident in his ability to provide the highest level of leadership and service," said Daniel Poneman, deputy energy secretary, in a statement.
Drummond will be responsible for managing the nonprofit federal agency, which markets power from Columbia River hydroelectic dams and operates the surrounding power grid.
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It also distributes other power to the Northwest, including from wind turbines and the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant near Richland.
Drummond's leadership of BPA is part of a larger strategy for each of the DOE's four power marketing administrations to help lead the 21st century transformation of the nation's electricity sector, according to DOE.
"The leadership of BPA is critically important because America's continued global competitiveness in the 21st century will be significantly affected by whether we can efficiently produce and distribute electricity to businesses and consumers, seamlessly integrating new technologies and new sources of power," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a statement.
Chu wants a more flexible and reliable electric grid and greater coordination among system operators, he said.
The Renewable Northwest Project, which advocates for renewable energy, praised the selection of Drummond.
"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," said Executive Director Rachel Shimshak in a statement.
Under Wright, BPA established a foundation of collaboration that recognized tribal treaty fishing rights, and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Commission expects to build on that with Drummond, it said in a statement.
In addition to the executive management Drummond provided as deputy administrator for BPA, he oversaw the agency's general counsel plus the compliance and governance, risk management, internal audit, public affairs, finance and corporate strategy functions.
He has worked in the energy industry for 30 years, including 17 years as manager of the Western Montana Electric Generating and Transmission Cooperative in Missoula, Mont. From 1988-94, he led the Public Power Council, an association of all Northwest publicly owned utilities.
Drummond has been a leader on many regional task forces and committees, including the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Northwest Wind Integration Forum and Northwest Energy Efficiency Task Force.
BPA has more than 3,100 full-time employees and employs about 1,500 contractors.