Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 | 1:10 p.m.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has appointed Paul Thomsen, an energy expert with experience in the renewable industry, as the newest regulator on the Public Utilities Commission.
Thomsen replaces outgoing Commissioner Rebecca Wagner and will serve as chairman.
“Paul is one of the leading experts in Nevada’s dynamic energy industry,” Sandoval said in a news release. “I know he will be a fair regulator.”
Thomsen arrives at the PUC as regulators debate high-profile cases regarding the state’s rooftop solar industry and a push by the casino industry to purchase and create power without the state’s largest utility, NV Energy.
Since 2013, Thomsen has served as director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and has an extensive background in the geothermal industry.
Wagner was considered by many in the private sector as a renewable energy advocate, leaving observers to keep a close eye on Sandoval’s appointment.
Before working in the governor’s office, Thomsen worked for Ormat Technologies, which designs, owns and develops geothermal machines internationally. He’s also worked in U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s office.
“I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to address pivotal issues coming before the Public Utilities Commission,” Thomsen said in the release.
Rose Mckinney James, a renewable energy consultant working on rooftop solar issues, said Thomsen is “brilliant.”
“I am thrilled for Paul and am happy to see the governor identify someone with his skill set,” she said. “He will be a welcome addition to the commission.”
The current chairwoman, Alaina Burtenshaw, will pass her leadership duties to Thomsen and remain on the commission.
Filling Thomsen’s role as director in the Governor’s Office of Energy is Angela Dykema, the current deputy director.