Watson steps down as Pacific Hydro CEO

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Rachel Watson, chief executive officer of Pacific Hydro in Australia, intends to step down at the end of the 2021 calendar year. Upon her departure, Domenic Capomolla, CEO of Pacific Hydro’s retail arm Tango Energy, will become interim CEO.

Watson joined Pacific Hydro in 2006 as a corporate lawyer and quickly moved into senior executive positions. As general manager, group services, Watson played an integral role in the sale of Pacific Hydro in 2016, a transaction valued at over $A3 billion.

When appointed CEO in 2018, Watson led Pacific Hydro globally, with operations across Australia, Chile and Brazil and total installed capacity of over 2.6 GW. Under her leadership, the business underwent a global restructure, which allowed for a consolidation and concentration of efforts in Pacific Hydro’s Australian renewable energy generation and retail markets.

As well as presiding over the addition of 180 MW to Pacific Hydro Australia’s installed capacity, Watson was instrumental in the introduction of new technologies into its development and operational portfolios, including solar, hydrogen, battery storage solutions, pumped hydro and a synchronous condenser.

Together with Capomolla, Watson oversaw the growth of Pacific Hydro’s retail arm from 10,000 customers in 2018 to more than 120,000 customers today.

Watson is outgoing Chair of the Clean Energy Council and played a pivotal role in the leadership group of the Connections Reform Initiative, which delivers solutions to address systemic issues related to the grid connection process.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to have led the Pacific Hydro team for the past four years. Australia is already well on its way to achieving a clean energy future, and I’m so proud of Pacific Hydro’s role, through both our generation and retail activities, in driving this transformation,” Watson said. “I feel absolute confidence in Domenic and the management team’s ability to continue writing the Pacific Hydro and Tango story, and I will watch the company’s future success with a great sense of pride. For now, I’m looking forward to a well-earned rest before I seek out my next challenge.”

Capomolla has been CEO of Tango Energy since 2018. Before that, he founded Sumo Energy, was executive director at Alinta Energy, and was CEO at Simply Energy for seven years.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on this new challenge,” Capomolla said. “Particularly given our unique position in the market as an integrated gentailer with a fully renewable energy base, the Pacific Hydro and Tango Energy teams have a lot to be excited about as we enter our third decade in operation. The Pacific Hydro business, and myself personally, have benefited greatly from Rachel’s leadership and we wish her all the very best for the future.”

Founded in 1992, Pacific Hydro Australia owns, operates, and develops renewable energy assets. It operates a diversified portfolio of wind, hydro and solar assets with an installed capacity of 665 MW. Pacific Hydro also has a development pipeline of projects totaling over 1,100 MW of potential capacity, as well as over 300 MW of energy storage solutions.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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