Energy Northwest is a joint operating agency of Washington state, comprised of 27 public power part utilities from across the state, serving more than 1.5 million customers. Energy Northwest possesses and operates a different blend of 100% carbon-free electricity producing assets including hydro, solar, battery storage and wind projects and the third-biggest supplier of electricity in Washington – the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power facility. The organization consistently explores new generation projects to meet its individuals’ needs.
I was in the right place at the right time for many steps along my career.
How did you land your current role? You are new in the position. What is your message to the organization and the community about your priorities?
But at each step, my priorities have been: Strive for excellence in all that you do; remember that everyone you meet might be in a position to help you in the future; and do everything you can to make your crew/team/peers individually successful.
I became CEO in August 2021.
I came to Energy Northwest as the maintenance manager for Columbia Generating Station in 2013 and held various leadership roles including plant general manager and site vice president.
I’m also a 28-year Navy submarine veteran. I had the honor to command the fast attack submarine USS Hyman G Rickover (SSN 709) and Submarine Squadron Seventeen at the Bangor submarine base in Kitsap County.
I retired from service as the deputy commander and chief of staff for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force. Most everything I learned about leadership I learned from my Navy experiences.
What role is Energy Northwest playing to meet climate change goals? In addition to safe, reliable and cost-effective operation of our current clean energy generating assets, Energy Northwest is looking to assist our member utilities in meeting the 2045 goal by expanding the clean power we can offer our members.
The recent commissioning of the Horn Rapids Solar and Battery Storage project, initial stages of development for a 155MWe Ruby Flats solar project and the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations in the state through our EVITA project are some of the strides we’re making. Why should the Tri-Cities care about Energy Northwest and its role in our community?
I think most everyone would agree that humans are having some impact on our climate. As a provider of 100% carbon-free electricity, we will play an important role to help Washington achieve 100% carbon-free, clean power by 2045. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Humility. What is the biggest challenge facing business owners/managers today?
On any day, I would say cost-efficient operation of your business to make sure you can attract customers. In the current climate it is starting to become more difficult to attract and retain the talent we need to be successful. There needs to be a never-ending focus on workforce development – starting as early as elementary and secondary schools.
- Q&A with Bob Schuetz
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