Renewable Northwest Board Hires New Executive Director

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The Board of Renewable Northwest (RNW) today announced that Nicole Hughes will be its new executive director. Renewable Northwest is the region’s leading renewable energy advocacy organization. Hughes brings more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of renewable energy development including project management, financing, and strategic policy to the helm of Renewable NW. She succeeds long-time executive director, Rachel Shimshak, who late last year announced plans to leave the organization by this July.

“The Board is very excited to have Nicole lead the Renewable Northwest team and help us continue the groundbreaking work of the past near quarter century,” said Nancy Hirsh, Board Chair. “Nicole truly understands what it takes to successfully deliver renewable resources to meet the needs of customers and the region’s climate goals.”

“I am truly honored to be chosen to lead this incredibly important organization and excited for the challenge of expanding renewables in the region,” said incoming Executive Director, Nicole Hughes.

Hughes has worked for the country’s leading renewable energy companies, including AWS Truepower, HDR, Inc., Element Power, RES America, Tetra Tech, and the Bonneville Power Administration. With a background in anthropology she entered the industry from a siting and permitting perspective and has grown from there to help integrate the role of public policy, markets, financial drivers and community input while making environmentally responsible renewable energy projects work.

“The organization will be in good hands with Nicole,” said outgoing Executive Director, Rachel Shimshak. “Her deep knowledge of renewable resources, and both the business and non-profit elements of our membership, position her well for leadership of the organization and its mission in the broader energy community.”

“Nicole enjoys a clear understanding of the critical importance of bringing stakeholders together to develop a shared vision of community success and win-win solutions that move the clean and affordable energy future forward,” added Hirsh.

“I have worked with Renewable Northwest and with Nicole for many years, and believe this is a fantastic match,” said Chris Taylor, Renewable Energy Asset Manager at Google. “Nicole's depth and breadth of experience across the spectrum of issues RNW works on will allow her to hit the ground running and drive renewable energy growth in the region to new levels. RNW is losing a legend but gaining a rising star.”

Hughes will officially take over the leadership of Renewable Northwest near the end of next month.

Renewable Northwest is a regional non-profit of businesses and public interest groups promoting responsibly developed new, renewable resources throughout the Northwest.

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