Mario Barbaresso, previously CEO of Benning Power Electronics, has been named CEO of Power Survey International. Last month, EnerTech Capital and Investissement Québec announced a $10 million investment in Power Survey, while also acquiring the shares of the current owners. Power Survey is a long-time provider of power factor correction and harmonic filtering equipment that helps industrial energy users reduce energy consumption.
Smarter Grid Solutions named Jim Kent as its new CEO. He takes over from Gerry Docherty, who is moving to the role of chairman. Kent served as CEO at Datapoint and before that as CEO of Vistorm. SGS provides distributed energy resource management and consultancy services that allow developers and distribution network operators to integrate distributed energy resources.
As GTM's Julia Pyper just reported, NRG Energy has wound down its GreenCo effort, with the sale of NRG EVgo to investment firm Vision Ridge Partners and a restructuring of NRG Home Solar that will result in laying off 500 employees.
Joey LeMonier III, formerly with American Solar Direct, is now director of sales development at PosiGen. PosiGen's business is built on a model of low-cost solar leases combined with energy-efficiency upgrades, targeted at middle- and low-income homeowners.
CEO watch: Ahmad Chatila is still CEO of bankrupt SunEdison, although a report from Queen’s University and Dartmouth notes that two-thirds of CEOs are gone by the time bankruptcy protection is sought -- ousted by the board or creditors, or by choice. The study notes that debtor-in-possession funding, as SunEdison has sought in the form of a recent $300 million loan, increases the likelihood of the CEO departing.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Venky Ganesan, a managing director at Menlo Ventures, was named chairman of the National Venture Capital Association. Ganesan will look to focus on VC communities outside of New York, Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Terrestrial Energy added some big names to its corporate industrial advisory board: Caterpillar Energy, Northwest Ontario Power Generation, PSEG and Southern Nuclear Operating Company. Earlier this year, small modular reactor startup Terrestrial Energy closed $8 million in funding for its Integral Molten Salt Reactor design -- intended for industrial process heat applications, with market deployment targeted "in the 2020s." The molten salt reactor is a design in which the nuclear fuel is dissolved in the coolant itself, typically a molten fluoride salt mixture. MSRs can run at higher temperatures and higher efficiencies than water-cooled reactors.
Here's a video of high-voltage power line inspection by helicopter.
From last week's column:
David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is leaving his post at the U.S. Department of Energy, following a rather productive four-year stint during a tremendously dynamic time in the energy industry. Danielson is heading back to Salinas, Calif., his birthplace, to spend some time with his family. Really.
He spearheaded an enormous number of quality programs -- and if there's an overarching theme, it's one of breaking down silos with cross-cutting efforts that focus on a larger goal. Think of solar soft costs having to be reduced across wide webs of services.
Danielson discussed "cross-cutting initiatives that were urgent" in grid modernization and clean energy manufacturing." He said the "electrical grid area doesn't tolerate silos" and pointed to the cooperation between HECO and SolarCity "to give HECO some confidence to double their limit of distributed PV deployment." He spoke of the U.S. "using clean energy to grow our manufacturing strength." Technologies such as wide bandgap semiconductors for power electronics, advanced composites, and 3-D printing of items such as homes, cars or wind turbine blades are being funded. Danielson also pointed out the U.S.-based manufacturing work by Silevo, 1366, Soraa, Suniva and Tesla. He spoke of a $170 million geothermal effort at a single site "to crack the code for enhanced geothermal -- throwing the kitchen sink at EGS" using techniques such as horizontal geothermal wells. To make up for the "dearth of VC," Danielson's efforts included work with national labs, students and incubators such as Cyclotron Road.
EERE’s David Friedman will become EERE’s Acting Assistant Secretary.
Vivint Solar's CEO, Greg Butterfield, has stepped down, and David Bywater, formerly COO at Vivint Smart Home, will serve as interim CEO. The executive move comes two months after Vivint's $2.2 billion acquisition by SunEdison was terminated. Blackstone Group is the majority shareholder in Vivint Solar and the owner of Vivint Smart Home.
First Solar named CFO Mark Widmar as its new CEO, effective July 1, 2016, replacing James Hughes, who intends to step down as CEO at that time. Hughes will remain in an advisory role and on the board. Widmar has served as First Solar’s CFO since 2011 and will take a seat on the board. Alexander Bradley, First Solar’s VP of treasury and project finance, has been appointed interim CFO. CEO Jim Hughes has made repeated claims about cost reductions at the leading integrated solar power provider, saying, "We have a technology roadmap -- by 2017, we'll be under $1.00 per watt fully installed on a tracker in the western United States." A recent GTM Squared article detailed First Solar's move to a new medium-voltage DC solar power plant architecture.