News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

BrightSource Names Former Enron Exec as New CEO

The firm behind the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System has a new leading light | Photo: BrightSource Energy

Oakland-based BrightSource Energy announced today that its Board Chairman David Ramm will be taking the helm as the solar firm's new Chief Executive Officer.

This isn't a radical change for BrightSource: Ramm has been acting CEO since June, when former CEO John Woolard left the firm, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Ramm will continue to act as the firm's Chairman of the Board.

"I am honored by the confidence BrightSource's Board of Directors has expressed in my leadership of the company," Ramm said. "BrightSource has world class talent, both here in our Oakland headquarters and in our offices around the globe. I'm looking forward to taking on this new role with such a dedicated and capable team."

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Ramm isn't a newcomer to the renewable energy field, having extensive experience in companies such as Turner Brothers that provide construction services to the wind turbine industry. Before the scandal-ridden energy company Enron fell apart at the turn of the century, Ramm headed up its subsidiaries Enron Wind Corporation and its parent company the Enron Renewable Energy Corporation. He held those posts from 1997-2000

At the time, the Enron Renewable Energy Corporation was the largest renewable energy company in the U.S., a distinction achieved when Enron bought half of Solarex -- then the nation's second-largest photovoltaic panel maker -- and all of the Tehachapi-based wind turbine company Zond. The renewables division's assets were sold off when Enron famously came apart in 2001, after revelations of market manipulation in California and accounting misbehavior throughout the company.

Post Enron, Ramm has worked for a number of energy development companies in Texas, New York, and California. He sits on the External Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and serves as Chairman of the President's Energy Advisory Board at the University of Houston.

"It's an exciting time for BrightSource as our work at Ivanpah approaches completion and we focus increasingly on international markets and new applications for solar steam," Ramm said in a BightSource press release.


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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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