President Trump intends to nominate Melissa Burnison, a lobbyist with the Nuclear Energy Institute, to be assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the Energy Department (DOE). Before joining NEI, Burnison was a senior adviser at DOE and also worked on the Hill, holding positions with the House Natural Resources Committee and for former Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The president also picked John Vonglis, a senior adviser at private equity firm Cross Range Capital LLC, to be DOE's chief financial officer. From 2002 to 2009, he served in multiple roles at the Defense Department, including chief management officer for the Air Force. A colonel in the Army Reserve, Vonglis ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 18th District of New York as a Republican against Democrat Nita Lowey.
North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has appointed Charles Berardesco as interim CEO following the resignation of Gerry Cauley, who was arrested Nov. 10 on domestic violence charges at his home near Atlanta. Berardesco is NERC’s general counsel and a senior vice president. Cauley had led NERC for almost eight years.
Justo González has been appointed interim director of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Ricardo Ramos resigned last week. He came under fire after making a controversial deal with Whitefish Energy Holdings to rebuild the Puerto Rican grid.
Brian Steed has been named acting director of the Bureau Land Management. In early October Steed left the office of Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, to become deputy director for programs and policy at BLM. Steed had been Stewart’s chief of staff since 2013.
The Solar Energy Industries Association says Recurrent Energy, a leading utility-scale project developer, will have a seat on its board of directors. Ty Daul, a 27-year power industry veteran, will serve as Recurrent Energy’s board representative. Daul oversees Recurrent Energy, which is based in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as Canadian Solar’s project development efforts in Canada and Latin America.
Jennifer Smith joined Chevron’s policy and government-affairs team. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County grad previously worked as a deputy scheduler for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has honored Andreas Thanos, a staffer at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, with its 2017 Terry Barnich Award, which recognizes state commissioners who promote international cooperation among utility regulators. Thanos was honored for, among other things, assisting regulators in Kosovo, Albania, Armenia, Hungary and Mexico. The award is named for Terrence “Terry” Barnich, a former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission who was killed in 2009 while working as the deputy director of the State Department office overseeing U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq.
The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) presented Distinguished Leadership Awards to Jonathan Pershing, Christiana Figueres, and Jukka Uosukainen and at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Pershing, program director of environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is a former special envoy for climate change at the State Department. Figueres serves as convener for Mission 2020, a global initiative aiming to accelerate action on climate change, and formerly served as UNFCCC executive secretary. Uosukainen is the director for the Climate Technology Center & Network and a former special envoy for climate change for Finland.