Long-time wind industry leader Rob Gramlich departs to open firm

Rob Gramlich, head of government and public affairs for the U.S. wind energy industry’s trade association and a leader of many successful campaigns for more wind power, is leaving to start a firm that will focus on power grid issues, it was announced today.

Gramlich was previously at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he worked on setting up Regional Transmission Organizations and developing transmission infrastructure policies for the President George W Bush-appointed Chairman Pat Wood III. He has spent the past 12 years at the American Wind Energy Association. He began with a transmission policy focus, and expanded into state and federal legislative, regulatory, and communications issues. He is leaving as Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, and will continue to work for the association as a consultant.

“I’m looking forward to returning to grid issues as my full-time focus, since they are the key to the nation’s continuing energy transition and where I believe I can make the biggest impact,” Gramlich said. He said he will launch Grid Strategies LLC on Feb. 15 to provide strategic advice and advocacy services for clients including AWEA in the areas of integrating clean energy into the grid, transmission infrastructure policy, and helping renewable energy, storage, and transmission interests with grid challenges at FERC, DOE, and with grid operators.

Gramlich has spent 20 years working on grid issues at FERC, the regional grid operator PJM, and AWEA. He is a national leader in the grid operations, planning, and regulatory changes that will be needed to support the transformation taking place in the power sector.

In his time at AWEA, he led four successful campaigns to extend the Production Tax Credit that has galvanized over $128 billion in private investment, over 100,000 jobs including many in U.S. factories, and deep savings in the cost of wind energy.

He spearheaded the “20 percent by 2030” wind project for the industry with the Bush Administration in 2007-8 and wrote its chapter on transmission, for which he was awarded the AWEA Technical Achievement award. A follow-up report in 2015, “Wind Vision,” envisioned wind energy becoming the No. 1 source of electricity generation in America by mid-century.

Gramlich led wind industry advocacy on the grid code approved by NERC and FERC in 2005-6. He led the industry’s engagement on tariff reform at FERC, which reduced imbalance charges and created conditional firm service.

For AWEA, he oversaw state and federal regulatory and legislative policy, and communications, as the industry grew more than 10-fold. He worked to create the state policy program and a network of effective regional renewable energy organizations, with whom AWEA partnered on dozens of successful Renewable Portfolio Standards and other state legislative campaigns. He created a research program and team at AWEA that provides a rich array of data services to association members. He served as Interim CEO of AWEA in 2013, and later as Interim Executive Director of the Wind Energy Foundation.

“Rob has been an outstanding leader for the wind industry and AWEA, helping guide the industry from 7 gigawatts of installed capacity when he started to now over 80 gigawatts, with a thoughtful, personable, and reasoned approach,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.

“Given the opportunities and challenges renewable energy companies have with grid congestion, curtailment, and markets, his work has never been more important than it is right now,” Kiernan said. “While we will sorely miss Rob in a daily leadership role, his continued partnership with AWEA and others on transmission opportunities will continue to benefit the industry and contribute to the growth of American wind power.”