Renewable Northwest’s Rachel Shimshak Receives Federal Honors


The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a Pacific Northwest-based agency under the U.S. Department of Energy, recently presented Rachel Shimshak, executive director of Renewable Northwest, with one of its highest honors as part of the agency’s 2018 Administrator’s Excellence Awards Program.

The annual program honors employees and members of the public who have made exceptional contributions to BPA’s mission, the electric utility industry or the local community.

Shimshak received the Award for Exceptional Public Service. Elliot Mainzer, BPA administrator, presented the award during an April 26 ceremony at BPA’s Portland, Ore., headquarters.

“Under her watch, the Northwest’s renewable industry has flourished,” said Mainzer. “Rachel has been a tremendous partner to Bonneville, shaping our understanding and awareness of many issues related to new renewables. She has always been open to other perspectives, sought win-win outcomes and never hesitated to push us when she believed in the cause.”

Shimshak has been the executive director of Renewable Northwest for 24 years, overseeing the region’s journey from zero to 8,000 MW of new solar, wind and geothermal resources. Shimshak participated in the Comprehensive Review of the Northwest Energy System in 1996 and has received other awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association, and the Center for Resource Solutions (the Green Power Pioneer Award). Shimshak was also recognized as Woman of the Year by Women of Wind Energy.

Shimshak has also participated in countless BPA rate cases, public processes and other proceedings to inform and influence BPA policies related to renewable generation. These efforts have shaped BPA’s understanding and awareness of many different issues, ranging from transmission policies and practices to hydro system operations, the agency says.

In December, Shimshak announced that she would be retiring from Renewable Northwest this June.

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