Head of Energy Northwest, operator of Richland nuclear plant, to retire

Mark Reddemann
Mark Reddemann

The chief executive of Energy Northwest plans to retire a year from now, he announced Thursday after an executive board meeting in Portland.

Mark Reddemann took over leadership of Energy Northwest in 2010, including overseeing the operation of the only nuclear power plant in the Northwest, the Columbia Generating Station near Richland.

He plans to retire in June 2018, allowing time for a successor to be picked and to possibly work with that successor before his retirement.

“I have worked in this industry for almost 40 years, and this has been the most rewarding position of my career,” Reddemann said in a message to employees.

Sid Morrison, chairman of the Energy Northwest executive board, has appointed a committee to help with the selection of a new chief executive.

Reddemann will work with the committee to help identify his successor.

“We owe Mark our gratitude for his strong and thoughtful leadership of the agency over these past seven years,” Morrison said.

“In this our 60th year of operation, Energy Northwest is stronger that ever in its service to our public power members,” Morrison said. “Mark’s role in getting us to this point cannot be understated.”

Reddemann was hired just after Columbia Generating Station had six scrams, or unplanned shutdowns, from August 2008 to November 2009. Under Reddemann’s leadership the plant did not have another scram until 2016.

When Reddemann joined Energy Northwest, he focused the organization on excellence in performance. The nuclear plant set electricity generation records in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 and reduced the cost of power.

Last year the Association of Washington Business named Energy Northwest its employer of the year.

Reddemann weathered a series of anonymous complaints to the Energy Northwest executive board starting in late 2015.

An independent investigation found mostly issues with communication. Although investigators were not charged with looking at whether the plant was operating safely, they found nothing that indicated otherwise, investigators with a Washington, D.C., law firm said.

Energy Northwest, with 1,100 employees, not only operates the Columbia Generating Station, the third-largest generator of electricity in the state, but also has wind, hydroelectric and solar projects. It is based in Richland.

Reddemann was vice president of Operations Support at Xcel Energy, during which he also served on the Energy Northwest Corporate Nuclear Safety Review Board, before being named chief executive of Energy Northwest. He has worked for nearly 40 years in the nuclear energy industry.

He plans to continue his service to industry and community organizations after he retires.

He serves on the New Brunswick Power Board, the Tri-City Development Council Board, the Association of Washington Business Executive Committee and Board, and the Nuclear Energy Institute Executive Committee and Board.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews