Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane announced plans to step down from the post last week. Macfarlane was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012 in the wake of the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and leaves the politically tinged agency and post in the second year of a five-year contract. Senate Republicans are urging a vote on the Yucca Mountain Nevada radioactive wastestoragesite, a highly charged issue and one not supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The approximately 100 nuclear power plants in the U.S. generate about 20 percent of the country's electricity.
Oorja Protonics, a direct methanol fuel cell manufacturer, has a new CEO -- Charles Shalvoy, the former CEO of Nitronex, a maker of RF semiconductors that was acquired by M/A-COM. Prior to Nitronex, he was the executive chairman of Canesta. Sanjiv Malhotra, Oorja's CEO since 2005, resigned the post "to pursue other interests." Earlier this year, Oorja, which targets materials transport and remote power markets, closed a Round E led by Mingxin China Growth Fund.
Erik Blachford, former CEO of Expedia, joined Choose Energy as a member of its board of directors. The company has raised more than $10 million from investors including KPCB to build an online marketplace for residents and businesses to comparison-shop for energy suppliers.
Wind converter and solar inverter manufacturer Ingeteam appointed Michael Lasky to the position of VP of sales for its solar division in North America. Lasky has worked at Sharp Solar Energy Solution Group, LDK Solar and a "leading solar inverter manufacturer."
Aclara, a software and services provider for utilities, added Robert Florence as Senior VP of Marketing, Customer and Sales Support. Most recently, he was EVP at Davis-Standard. Prior to that, he was VP of Marketing and Business Development at Solazyme. Aclara is owned by Sun Capital Partners.
Navigant appointed Randy Zwirn to its board of directors. Zwirn is CEO of the Energy Service Division of Siemens and also serves on the board of directors of SunEdison.
Jeff Dorety joined Trina Solar, a large, China-based solar panel producer, as president of the Americas region. He was previously VP of sales at JA Solar USA.
Late this summer, John Woolard, the former CEO of BrightSource Energy, joined Google as VP of Energy. Woolard led the development, fundraising and construction for the $2.2 billion, 392-megawatt Ivanpah solar thermal power plant, a first-of-its-scale power tower project. Google has been a long-time investor in BrightSource's Mojave Desert concentrated solar project.