WPP to be led by transmission expert Sarah Edmonds

March 24, 2022, 3:06 p.m. | Last modified Oct. 4, 2022, 8:44 p.m.

For more information, please contact: Bill Drummond, 406-544-0510 or WKDrummond@comcast.net

[PORTLAND, Ore.] – The Northwest Power Pool Corporation, doing business as the Western Power Pool (WPP), announced today its Board of Directors has selected Sarah Edmonds as President and CEO. WPP is a nonprofit corporation that helps coordinate electric grid operations for the western United States and Canada. The WPP supports the activities of the Northwest Power Pool, which includes major utilities, generators, and energy managers who together work for increased grid efficiency and reliability. WPP is in the process of facilitating development of a Western regional resource adequacy program (WRAP), which seeks to enhance and increase reliability for entities across the footprint while maintaining existing responsibilities for reliable operations and observing existing frameworks for planning, purchasing, and delivering energy.

Edmonds was selected by the WPP Board after a multi-month search for an experienced energy industry professional with demonstrated knowledge of the increasingly complex regional and interregional grid issues faced by the Western U.S. and Western Canada. Most recently, she served as the Director of Transmission & Reliability Services at Portland General Electric, Oregon’s largest electric utility.

The Chairman of the Board of the WPP, Bill Drummond, said the extensive search for a new WPP President and CEO could be aptly described as “rigorous.”

“The Board was honored and gratified by the very strong field of candidates who applied for this position,” Drummond said. “We are truly fortunate to have retained Sarah Edmonds because she brings exactly the right mixture of experience, credibility, and integrity to build on the WPP’s strong foundation, and we are confident she can move it forward with purpose and innovation.”

The expertise and enthusiasm embodied by Edmonds were underscored by other Western Power Pool members, including the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the federal agency that owns and operates more than 15,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines in eight Western states.

“Sarah has a strong track record of bringing together diverse perspectives, listening to all voices and finding common ground to advance regional solutions,” said John Hairston, Administrator and CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration. “Her collaborative leadership style and vision for the power grid will serve us all well as the West tackles resource adequacy, expanded markets, and aligns around mutual goals for greater coordination and reliability.”

Though Edmonds will leave her current job at Portland General Electric (a Northwest Power Pool member) to take on this new role starting April 18th, her move is seen as an important continuation of her extensive work on regional grid matters.

 ‘I’m excited that the Western Power Pool has selected Sarah Edmonds as its new Chief Executive Officer,” said Debra Smith, General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. “Sarah is an outstanding and highly regarded leader within the Pacific Northwest energy community, and across the West in general. Most notably, she has stood out amongst her peers in helping to steer the development the Western Resource Adequacy Program development effort. Her keen mind and expertise in utility regulatory and governance concepts, and her relationships across the landscape of stakeholders will be a tremendous asset to the WPP and its membership; and nobody is better positioned to steer the organization through the WRAP implementation into the binding program and whatever comes next."

Edmonds is eager to assume her new responsibilities. “I look forward to teaming up with the WPP’s Board and staff to propel the organization into the next stage of excellence to meet the needs and aspirations of the Western Power Pool membership,” she said.

About the Western Power Pool

The NWPP Corporation, doing business as WPP, is based in Portland, Oregon. Having evolved from its informal origins of three engineers on loan from member utilities in 1941 to the existing staff today, the WPP strives to help its customer organizations achieve maximum benefits of coordinated operations.

The Northwest Power Pool Agreement provides for a voluntary association whose membership consists of major generating utilities serving the Northwestern United States, British Columbia, and Alberta. The staffing and governance functions supporting the committees of the Northwest Power Pool Agreement were folded into a nonprofit corporation—the NWPP Corporation, which now does business as the WPP—in 1999. Northwest Power Pool membership activities are largely determined by major committees – the Operating Committee, the Coordinating Group for the Pacific Northwest Coordination Agreement, the Reserve Sharing Group Committee, and the Transmission Planning Committee.

During its evolution, the WPP has refined its core values to be customer-driven, relationship-based, and independent. From this foundation, WPP provides professional and management services to its participating organizations, as defined by its General Services Agreements, and professional service contracts with individual participants and other utilities across the West.

Beginning in early 2019 and acting through the WPP, a broad coalition of stakeholders initiated an effort to establish a Western regional resource adequacy program. The contemplated WRAP program seeks to enhance and increase reliability for the footprint while maintaining existing responsibilities for reliable operations and observing existing frameworks for planning, purchasing, and delivering energy. The WRAP includes not only participants from within the traditional Northwest Power Pool footprint, but new participants from across the West and Desert Southwest. Participants are currently engaged in the non-binding forward showing phase of the program.

For more information, please contact: Bill Drummond, 406-544-0510 or WKDrummond@comcast.net