PORTLAND, Ore., March 1, 2002 — Steve Wright officially became the 13th administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Friday morning after U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown administered the oath of office.
Wright, 44, heads an agency that markets power from the second-largest generating system in the United States, the Federal Columbia River Power System. The Columbia system comprises 29 federal dams and one nuclear plant, generating roughly half of the region’s total electricity. BPA also operates 15,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, three-fourths of the region’s long-distance delivery network.
Wright has been with the agency for 21 years, beginning in the agency’s conservation department. He has served as acting administrator since November 2000. Wright’s tenure has spanned some of the region’s biggest energy challenges – including last year’s West Coast energy crisis and second-worst drought in Pacific Northwest history.
“I’m committed to operating BPA as a sound business enterprise, but one whose mission starts with meeting our responsibilities to serve the public. That means striving for strong environmental stewardship, low rates, reliable service and openness to the public’s ideas about how best to use the assets that provide so much value to the Northwest,” Wright said.
Wright began his work at BPA in 1981 shortly after receiving an MA in public affairs from the University of Oregon. Following a stint in the agency’s energy conservation office, he moved to BPA’s Washington, D.C., office in 1984. In 1987, he began managing the California office, then went back to nation’s capital as manager in 1990.
In 1998, he returned to BPA headquarters in Portland as a corporate senior vice president where he had responsibility for public affairs; environment, fish and wildlife; finance and budget; strategic planning; and human resources. He became deputy administrator in 2000, followed shortly by his appointment as acting administrator. He and his wife, Kathleen, and their three children live in Portland.