Meet Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO of CAISO, Keynote Speaker at Clean Currents 2022

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Meet Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO of CAISO, Keynote Speaker at Clean Currents 2022


October 17, 2022


Jeremy Chase-Israel, Content Development Specialist, NHA


Meet Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO of CAISO, Keynote Speaker at Clean Currents 2022

NHA thanks our sponsors:

Waterpower Week 2023

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) is pleased to announce Elliot Mainzer’s participation in Clean Currents as the keynote speaker of the Thursday, October 20, 2022, plenary session. In his role as President and CEO of the California Independent System Operator, Mainzer is guided by a deep understanding of western United States energy markets. With an 18-year career at Bonneville Power Administration, seven of which was spent as the administrator and CEO, Mainzer guided the agency through advancements in modernization and responsiveness.

Clean Currents brings together all sectors of the waterpower industry, and one of the most valuable elements of the event is the space it provides for learning and engagement. With renewables in the spotlight, one of hydropower’s strengths is providing stability to the grid, backstopping wind and solar.

Under Elliot Mainzer’s leadership, The California Independent System Operator has embraced the importance of long-duration energy storage. While this often takes the form of battery storage in California, the utility of pumped storage hydropower is increasingly being recognized, further demonstrating hydropower’s important role in achieving the Biden Administration’s goal of a carbon-neutral federal government by 2050.


Elliot Mainzer has decades of experience as a leader in the western electricity market. Spanning 2013 – 2020, Mainzer served as Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) administrator and CEO. As CEO, Mainzer helped navigate the agency through a period of enormous industry change by advancing Bonneville Power Administration’s long-term cost competitiveness and financial resiliency, modernizing assets and systems operations, and strengthening the agency to become a more responsive business partner.

After a remarkable 18-year career at the Bonneville Power Administration, where Mainzer stood at the forefront of transformational changes in the western electricity market, he began his new role at as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on September 30, 2020.

The California Independent System Operator is responsible for managing the flow of electricity serving 80% of California, as well as a small portion of Nevada. It also runs a real-time energy market for utilities in eight western U.S. states, conducting reliability coordinator services for many balancing authorities in the region.

In addition to his work at CAISO, Mainzer also co-chairs the Western Electric Industry Leaders Group, which supports greater western market and policy coordination on topics like resource adequacy, transmission development, and carbon accounting.

Mainzer has served as the Chair of the U.S. Entity for the Columbia River Treaty with Canada, and he served on the boards of the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Utility Wind Integration Group.

Mainzer received an undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkley and a master’s degree in Business Administration and Environmental Studies from Yale University.