Alan Oshima, former executive vice president of Corporate and Community Advancement at HECO parent company HEI, was named president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Company. In June, HECO announced that CEO Richard Rosenblum "plans to retire within a year." Rosenblum has been HECO's CEO and a member of the utility's board since 2009. "I'm honored to lead Hawaiian Electric at such a critical time," said Oshima in a release. "We have a dedicated team of employees who care deeply about doing the right thing for our customers and for Hawaii. We know the energy environment is changing, and we have to adapt. We need to be more responsive, working collaboratively with our customers and the greater community. I'm confident that together we can achieve the clean energy future we all want for Hawaii." Oshima has been named as one of America's best lawyers in the field of public utilities multiple times.
QBotix, a maker of a robot-driven, dual-axis solar tracking system, named Mike Miskovsky as its new CEO. Miskovsky was, most recently, the CEO of PV mounting systems leader Zep Solar, which was acquired by SolarCity. In May, QBotix announced $12 million in funding from E.ON, Iberdrola and existing investors, New Enterprise Associates, Firelake Capital Management, Draper Nexus and Siemens Ventures.
Thomas Nelson joined solar microinverter maker APS as VP of sales. Nelson was most recently senior director of strategic accounts with U.K. microinverter firm Enecsys. The firm is about to introduce a three-phase, four-panel microinverter for large commercial applications. APS ranked No. 2 in global market share among microinverter suppliers in 2013, according to GTM Research.
Albireo Energy named Rick LeBlanc as a board director. The company is a building automation and energy services firm that serves large commercial and institutional buildings. LeBlanc was most recently at Siemens Building Technologies, where he served as division president. Albireo Energy is a portfolio company of Detroit-based Huron Capital Partners, pursuing what it describes as a "buy-and-build strategy in the energy efficiency services market."
Elisabeth Brinton has joined California utility PG&E as VP of corporate strategy, reporting to the president. Prior to joining PG&E, Brinton was EVP of operations for big-data analytics firm C3. She joined C3 Energy from SMUD, where she was chief customer officer.
Barry Freeman is now VP of business development at battery maker ZPower. Freeman is launching ZPower's rechargeable batteries to the audiology, medical device, and hearables markets worldwide. Most recently, he was the CEO and president of Audiology Consultants, a private audiology consulting firm. Prior to ACI, Freeman was the senior director of audiology and education for Starkey.
SolarCity's employee base has grown 67 percent since the end of 2013, with the firm adding 2,900 employees in 2014 to date, according to a statement. SolarCity is the nation's largest solar employer, with more than 7,000 full-time employees in the U.S.
As we recently reported, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is on the verge of bankruptcy and was seeking to fill a Chief Restructuring Officer role. Barron's has noted that the utility is struggling with $10 billion in debt. Last week the utility announced that Lisa Donahue has been appointed to the CRO role. Donahue currently is the leader of the Turnaround and Restructuring Services group at AlixPartners. She previously served as EVP and CFO of Calpine, an independent power producer. In 2013, 68 percent of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, 15 percent from natural gas, 15 percent from coal, and 2 percent came from hydropower. The island's utility has five main power plants with a capacity of approximately 3,900 megawatts for its 1.5 million customers. Puerto Rico's 24-cents-per-kilowatt-hour electricity is largely generated with oil imported from Brazil.