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Energy Jobs: GE Picks Leader for Reservoir, Brown Back at Avangrid, Plus 5000 Layoffs at E.ON-RWE


As we often do these days, we kick it off in the rapidly evolving world of energy storage.

GE Power has hired Rob Morgan to lead its reimagined energy storage unit and grow the market for its new Reservoir Energy Storage platform. “Rob brings the right skill set to lead GE Power’s Energy Storage Unit as the industry shifts toward a more decentralized, decarbonized, and digitized electricity infrastructure,” said GE Power CEO Russell Stokes.

GE says it already has bid more than several hundred megawatt-hours’ worth of Reservoirs since the product was launched in March. The 1.2-megawatt, 4-megawatt-hour Reservoir system marks a new entry into the standardized large-scale battery market with a fully loaded container that GE says can be installed in half the time compared to other containerized offerings. Morgan co-founded Agile Energy and also held leadership positions at RES Americas, AES Corporation and Areva Solar back when it was Ausra.

Given that S&C recently shuttered its energy storage manufacturing business, GE also picked up Troy Miller, who will be the sales leader for energy storage in North America after spending the last eight years at S&C, most recently as the director of grid solutions.  

Last fall, German storage startup sonnen told GTM’s Julian Spector that the company wasn’t interested in the “bullshit bingo” that plagues industry discussions of virtual power plants, in which buzzwords and small pilots stand in for substantive action. “Sonnen is a company that likes to get things done: We want the virtual power plant to really exist, and it does exist in Germany,” said U.S. Senior Vice President Blake Richetta. “We’re not going to be paralyzed by pilots anymore in this country.”

But sonnen hasn’t been able to entirely avoid the bingo game, as the company struggles to make the sonnenCommunity concept catch on. Enter Ani Backa, former attorney and government affairs manager for Xcel Energy, as U.S. director of regulatory strategy and utility initiatives. Her job will be to move the needle with both regulators and utilities to enable communities to become virtual power plants like it is doing with Mandalay Homes in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

If you’re looking for more virtual power plant news, Adam Todorski has joined Centrica as director of virtual power plant development, potentially the first role at a utility devoted specifically to VPPs. Before joining Centrica he was a senior director with AutoGrid Systems.

Laney Brown, who left Avangrid as director of smart grid planning in early 2016, is back in a VP role, where she tells GTM she will be developing new e-solutions products and services. At the time of her departure two years ago, she felt she could be more nimble in a consulting role. Before she took on smart grid planning, which included REV demos for Avangrid in New York, she oversaw Central Maine Power’s AMI program.

Sara Rafalson is now with EVgo as director of market development. She had been at Sol Systems until last summer, when she went on a travel sabbatical and did some consulting before joining the EV fast-charging company. Vision Ridge bought EVgo from NRG in 2016. Rafalson has her work cut out for her. She’ll start her work with utilities and regulators to promote EV fast-charging on the heels of a new report from EVgo that shows demand charges are making it very difficult to accelerate the build-out of public fast-charging, an issue that likely won’t have an easy fix.

Rafalson is hardly the only woman in a top spot at EVgo; she joins Julie Blunden as EVP of business development and CEO Cathy Zoi, as GTM reported on in March.

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Enertech Search Partners, a boutique talent acquisition and advisory firm focused exclusively on the intersection of the new energy economy and connected industries, is the sponsor of the GTM jobs column.

Among its many active searches, Enertech has been exclusively engaged to find a client executive in the energy project finance sector.

The client, an innovative provider of IOT electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions built upon a disruptive business model, is seeking a VP of Product Management with a strong emphasis on Product Marketing. The VP of Product Management will construct and drive implementation of the product roadmap, ensuring customer needs are identified and prioritized for product development, then delivered to the market based on compelling positioning, messaging, and sales effectiveness.

 

This hire will work closely with the COO and other members of executive, product team, and marketing team on outbound messaging, including articles, white papers, content generation for other media, customers, and partners. 10+ years’ experience in related fields (EVSE, EVs, charging networks, automotive technologies, utility programs in DR or EVs) is required.

The Alliance to Save Energy has brought on Jason Hartke to be its next president. Hartke came from the U.S. Department of Energy where he ran the commercial buildings integration program. “Jason is exactly the kind of leader the Alliance needs at this time,” Alliance Board Chairman Gil Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, said in a statement. “He brings deep knowledge of energy efficiency and experience in the field. He’s a collaborative leader who knows how to champion sound policy and navigate Washington politics in a bipartisan way.”

Austin Energy’s COO Elaina Ball is now the SVP and chief accounting officer for El Paso Electric Company.

Bert Garcia is leaving his post of CFO at Enphase Energy in June after eight years to “pursue other opportunities,” according to Enphase. The microinverter company, which just released its first-quarter earnings, is now searching for his replacement.

A startup that calls itself “the LED of motors,” Software Motor Company, recently hired Mike Petouhoff, Apple’s former Global Energy Team Leader, as its VP of business development. The company builds high-efficiency motors and is currently selling switched reluctance motors for HVAC systems.

As part of the RWE and E.ON merger, Reuters reports the companies will lay off approximately 5,000 workers. GTM reported last month that this merger would transform both companies, giving RWE a combined share in wind power second only to Iberdrola in Europe, and giving E.ON a share of the retail market that could raise antitrust implications in Germany, where the two companies are already dominant players, as well as in the U.K., where they are two of the six biggest retailers. 

“Each company will have a stronger entrepreneurial core,” E.ON Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said in a statement.

There’s also a shakeup happening down under as Elisabeth Brinton is leaving her executive post as executive general manager of new energy at Aussie utility AGL, less than two years after joining from PG&E, according to Australian Financial Review. A spokesperson told AFR that AGL would be folding its new energy business into other sectors. “We have decided to integrate our New Energy function into Customer Markets, Information Systems & Technology, and Finance to drive greater value for our customers and shareholders,” the representative told AFR.

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