Smart Grid Northwest Launch


Organization Formed to Promote and Expand Smart Grid Growth and Business Activity Across the Northwest

PORTLAND, OR, July 29, 2014 – The new organization Smart Grid Northwest launched with strong support from the regional energy community including major utilities, multinationals, and community organizations. At a formal kick-off event held in Portland, OR with over 100 energy and smart grid leaders, keynote speeches were delivered by immediate past Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff and recently appointed BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer. Wellinghoff said, “I commend Smart Grid Northwest for leading the effort in the development of the region’s next generation energy system. This region has unique assets and can take a leadership role in creating a smarter energy future.”

For more information on the organization, visit the new website

Smart Grid Northwest is dedicated to promoting the growth of the smart grid-related industry, as well as the development of smart grid solutions across the Pacific Northwest. The organization will focus its efforts on education, public policy, and regional planning. Public events will feature leaders from industry firms creating smart grid solutions as well as from leaders deploying smart grid innovations. The organization will also facilitate a roundtable series for utility professionals to discuss smart grid related topics.

“We are encouraged that smart grid is advancing technologies, solutions and policies for greater efficiency, reliability and capabilities of our electric grid,” says Terry Oliver, chief technology innovation officer for Bonneville Power Administration and Smart Grid Oregon expert advisor. “Timing is excellent for the Northwest to become much more serious about the region’s energy grid given a number of issues and opportunities from the optimized integration of significant wind resources to lessening the burden on the aging transmission system. Smart Grid Northwest can accelerate and assist in achieving regional grid resiliency and modernization efforts, in addition to advancing Northwest business engagement in this important national challenge.”

The Pacific Northwest has long been a model for comprehensive energy planning, effective energy conservation, and clean-energy resource development. The Northwest is also filled with early adopters of energy-related products such as electric vehicles, and has long been a pioneer in green building. Smart Grid Northwest looks to weave together the region’s assets to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electrical system.

“The Northwest has a wealth of knowledge and technology like nowhere else,” says Sharelynn Moore, VP of corporate marketing and public affairs at Itron and new Smart Grid Northwest board member. “When we look around the broader Northwest, we see assets from progressive utilities like Avista and Portland General Electric, leading research from Bonneville Power Administration, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, and the region’s universities, and innovations from companies like Itron, Alstom Grid, and Building Energy – all combined with an encouraging community. It’s time we started telling the story and creating a smart grid brand for the Northwest.”

The Smart Grid Northwest launch event was held at Vestas’ North American headquarters. Vestas is the global leader in wind turbine manufacturing. Chris Brown, President of Vestas Americas, addressed the audience with remarks, “Vestas is excited about the future of the wind industry in this country, and we are working with our customers on a number of very large projects. For wind to reach its full potential, it will have to deliver power to American consumers at the lowest possible cost. America will need a sound program of infrastructure development, plus a creative, aggressive effort to implement smart grid technologies for resource integration.”

“We started Smart Grid Oregon more than four years ago to create an environment to develop the smart grid ecosystem,” says Bryce Yonker, executive director of Smart Grid Northwest and director of business development at clean-tech research and advisory firm Clean Edge. “With initial support from Portland General Electric, PNNL, and other Oregon leaders in energy and smart grid, we are pleased by the response of others in the Pacific Northwest for our expanded mission. The region is now ready to seriously work toward creating a smarter energy future, and we are excited to help lead the charge. ”

Smart Grid Northwest is adding a number of key industry leaders to its Board of Directors including:

  • Michael Atkinson, President, Alstom Grid North America
  • Carl Imhoff, Manager Electric Infrastructure Market Sector, Pacific Northwest National Labs
  • Charlie Kawasaki, Tech Executive, Software Diligence Services
  • Don Kopczynski, VP of Operations, Avista
  • Chen Ching Liu, Professor & Director, Energy Systems and Innovation Center, Washington State University
  • Sharelynn Moore, VP of Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs, Itron
  • Michael Pesin, Chief Technology Advisor and Smart Grid Architect, Seattle City Light

The organization is also expanding its Advisory Council to include:

  • Jesse Berst, Founder and Chairman, Global Smart Energy and Smart Cities Council
  • Dan Brown, VP, Cascade Energy
  • Marc Cummings, CEO, Smart Buildings Center
  • Daniel Kirshen, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Smart Grid, University of Washington
  • Terry Oliver, Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Bonneville Power Administration
  • Russ Weed, VP of Business Development, UniEnergy Technologies
  • Tim Wolf, Director of Marketing, Itron

Retained Board Members:

Joe Barra, Portland General Electric
Robert Bass, Portland State University
Steve Crow, NW Power & Conservation Council
William Holmes, K&L Gates
Bob Jenks, Citizens Utility Board
Steve Jennings, Qualitrol
Erik Larson, Building Energy
Cheryl Linder, IBM
James Mater, Quality Logic
Frank Rytkonen, OregonTech
Dexter Turner, OpTech
Bryce Yonker, Smart Grid Northwest/Clean Edge

Retained Advisory Council Members:

Rick Crinklaw, Lane Electric Cooperative
Jeff Hammarlund, Portland State University
Michael Jung, Silver Spring Networks
David Kalez, Pacific Crest Securities
Elliot Mainzer, Bonneville Power Administration
Ron Melton, Battelle Northwest (PNNL)
Kurt Miller, Portland General Electric
Patrick Miller, EnergySec
Bill Nesmith, NASEO
Terry Oliver, Bonneville Power Administration
Steph Stoppenhagen
Amos Tsikayi, Siemens
Joel Westvold, Sensus

About Smart Grid Northwest

Smart Grid Northwest is dedicated to creating a smart energy future that will:
Create jobs with the development of metering, monitoring, controls, communications, software, analytics, and other technology and services companies.
Integrate new energy resources such as distributed renewables, dispatchable energy storage, automated demand response, transactive energy, smart homes/buildings, and other emerging energy solutions.
Empower consumers to make wise and economical decisions with easy-to-access, timely, and accurate energy information.
Ensure energy affordability as energy supply and demand are balanced more dynamically and optimally with near real-time data.
Establish a more resilient, reliable, efficient and sustainable energy system where outages are fixed more rapidly, peak demand is abated, efficiency programs are optimized and integrated with energy management, resources are used more effectively, and a myriad of other benefits are realized.

Smart Grid Northwest’s mission is to promote, grow, and enable the smart grid industry and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. The organization has 50 member companies representing regional utilities, smart grid industry companies, major energy users (corporations), service firms, higher education, government agencies, non-profits, and other grid development stakeholders. Additional information is available at

Stephan Williams