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Leading a Regional Electricity Grid and the Transition to a Clean Energy Future with Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England


Welcome to Episode 17. I joined Gordon van Welie, President and Chief Executive Officer of ISO New England on a clear late summer's day at his office just outside of Springfield, Massachusetts. The general population would likely not be aware of the pivotal and critical role that an independent system operator plays in the reliable delivery of electricity across large regions of the United States moment by moment, 24/7.

ISO New England is an independent system operator that is responsible for the transmission of electricity across the six-state New England region that includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The company's power system engineers, economists, computer scientists and other professionals ensure that the region has reliable, competitively priced wholesale electricity today and into the future.

Gordon hails from South Africa and spent the foundational years of his career in a variety of engineering roles with Eskom, South Africa's electric utility. He joined Siemens and served as vice president and general manager of their power system's control division, delivering IT solutions for electric companies. From Siemens, he joined ISO New England as COO in September of 2000 and, shortly thereafter, was promoted to CEO in May of 2001.  

Informative and Helpful Links


Program Guide Episode 18


0:30     Introduction to Episode 17

1:07     Introduction to ISO New England and Gordon van Welie its President and CEO

2:18     Foundations and origins of Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Operators

3:50     Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Orders 888 and 889

4:30     Critical policy question – how to decarbonize the electric system.

8:05     Break 1

8:22     The regional, state and federal level policy tapestry that affects the ISO

14:50   Break 2

10:56   The regional-level versus state-level policy in New England

17:55   Break 3

18:17   Operational risks such as fuel supply and the changing generation resource mix

19:23   “Fuel security” explained

21:24   Break 4

21:46   Is there a phased approach to a carbon-free future that assures power availability?

24:16   Electricity storage and other constraints on arrival speed to our clean energy future

26:40   Break 5

27:01   What can policy makers do to alleviate the constraints?

28:47   Resources, people and talent at the ISO that lead and stay abreast

30:26   Working with universities – intern programs and R&D work with professors

32:23   Closing comments – Perspective for young people coming up in a dramatically more exciting electric industry.

Biographies of Guests


Mr. Gordon van Welie


Gordon van Welie is President and Chief Executive Officer of ISO New England Inc., having previously served as the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He joined ISO New England from Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution LLC, where he served as Vice President and General Manager of the Power Systems Control Division and was responsible for managing information technology solutions for electric companies. Before coming to Siemens, Mr. van Welie held several positions at ESKOM, South Africa’s electric utility based in Johannesburg. Mr. van Welie is a member of the Executive Committee of the US National Committee of CIGRE and the Member Representatives Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). In 2016, he was awarded the Leadership in Power Award from the IEEE Power & Energy Society.

Program Disclaimer

The only purpose of the podcasts is to educate, inform and entertain. The information shared is based on the collection of experiences of each of the guests interviewed and should not be considered or substituted for professional advice. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experience and conclusions, and neither The Leadership Lyceum LLC nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular content, recommendation or methodology discussed in this podcast.


This podcast Leadership Lyceum: A CEO’s Virtual Mentor has been a production of The Leadership Lyceum LLC. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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