The administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the Bonneville Power Administration, Steve Wright, made a presentation at Mason County PUD No. 3’s auditorium on Wednesday, January 16, 2013. Wright summarized the history of the Federal Hydroelectric Power system and the BPA. He also discussed how the system has made long-lasting contributions to the Pacific Northwest and helped create a larger community.
Wright also explained that the creation of the BPA helped lead to the creation of Public Utility Districts.
According to Wright, the authorization to construct the system didn’t come without controversy.
The controversy ended when the US entered World War II.
Wright went on to spell out other benefits of the hydroelectric system aside from power generation such as irrigation and flood protection but also the impacts it has had on salmon and Native American culture.
Bonneville has spent decades working out a plan to resolve those issues.
Wright, who is retiring after a 31-year career with the BPA – the last 12 as Administrator, also talked about the future.
Wright was asked to name the obstacles he sees ahead for Bonneville which he says include covering the cost of generating power, long term contracts with its customers and maintaining aging systems. However he does see an opportunity.
While Wright made his appearance in Mason County, the U.S. Department of Energy named his successor at BPA: Bill Drummond. Drummond (pictured right) currently serves as BPA’s Deputy Administrator and has worked in the energy industry for over 30 years including 17 years as manager of the Western Montana Electric Generating and Transmission Cooperative in Missoula, Montana.