TREIA Board of Directors
Ingmar Sterzing is a Partner at Skaia Energy engaging with clients to create and grow profitable projects and businesses. Ingmar thrives on bringing clarity and direction to the dynamic and complex landscape of the energy business by crafting industry-leading strategies and risk-adjusted execution plans. With over 20 years of experience he has cultivated multi-functional expertise and an established track record of driving value added results in services, operations, and asset management at PEC, LS Power, Westinghouse, LCRA, and GE. Ingmar specializes in business and project development, capital planning and execution, asset management, operational excellence, commercial strategies, due diligence, and risk management. Ingmar actively serves as a member of industry and professional boards and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from UT Austin and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering from NC State.
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ARTICLE: JANUARY 2019
Board Member Ingmar Sterzing: Sixth Generation Texan - First Generation in Renewable Energy
By Peter Kelly-Detwiler - Storyteller in Residence
TREIA board member Ingmar Sterzing has been around energy for his entire career, and pretty much his whole life. He spent his early days up in the oil patch around Midland, where his grandfather was in the oil business. But something about electricity appealed to him, and he’s dedicated his professional life to multiple aspects of the power industry. Sterzing has worked for a number of utilities such as LCRA and Pedernales (PEC – both in Texas), multinational energy corporations including GE, Toshiba, and Westinghouse (North Carolina), a private equity firm (New York) and is now CEO of Skaia Energy and a partner with OnPeak Power (Austin – a sixth generation Texan always eventually comes home).
Spanning the globe, but Texas is home
His career experiences have been varied, from helping build nuclear plants in Taiwan, to managing a fleet of combined cycle power plants in the southeastern U.S., to working in transmission and generation here in Texas, and arranging power deals in New York. That multidisciplinary pedigree comes in handy these days, when so many aspects of the electric industry are interconnecting in new and unprecedented ways, and where value is frequently created by the ability to move across disciplines and see multiple perspectives.
After leaving New York in 2015 to come back and work for PEC as VP of Power Supply, Sterzing caught the renewable bug, “I was really intrigued by distributed energy resources and renewables and how they could benefit the Co-Op. I really wanted to get over on the retail side, and learn that, and understand how it works. How it would transform our industry.”
At PEC, he led a 11 MW distributed solar project (consisting of multiple 1 MW sites), combined with a customer solar rate option that allowed customers to buy solar energy for the first time.
In March of last year, Sterzing decided to dedicate the next stage of his career to renewable and distributed energy development, so he joined the firm Skaia Energy. Skaia assists developers and utilities with a wide range of services – from project development and strategic planning to risk management and support in obtaining project finance. Sterzing also joined OnPeak Power as a Vice President and partner. OnPeak is developing a 1,000 MW solar project that has already sold its first 255 MW.
Joining up with TREIA
In the early 2000’s, Ingmar was involved with TREIA while helping construct the first west Texas transmission upgrades and interconnections with wind projects. After returning to Texas, he got involved with TREIA again during his time with PEC, as the utility had already been a member. Last year, he was invited to join TREIA’s board, bringing his vast experience and skill set to the table. The relationship has been fruitful, as he’s been able to tap other TREIA talent for occasional projects, and make useful referrals. “If a client needs additional resources that I’m not able to provide, I’ve been able to reach out to other TREAI members to get a connection for the client right away,” he commented.
Sterzing’s main area of focus as a board member is on board recruitment. Non-profits generally succeed or fail based on the talent and commitment of the board, so he takes his role seriously. TREIA board members have staggered two-year terms, and a number of open positions are coming up, to be voted on at the next board meeting. In total, Sterzing noted, “We expect four new board members to be joining TREIA. We’ve been very fortunate this time around, and we have had some very strong candidates approach TREIA.”
Candidates come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and he was happy to note that interest has been strong, and “an outcome of our effort to improve our strategic process and align TREIA with what our members need to make sure they are getting value out of participation.”
Sterzing’s been in the energy field for a long time and seen a lot of things, but he’s really excited about the opportunities he is seeing today and TREIA’s potential to shape the future Texas energy landscape. “Texas is leading the nation in renewable energy, and it’s really just beginning for solar,” he commented.
At the same time, with all the new technologies coming into play, such as utility-scale solar, storage, and distributed energy resources, Sterzing observed, “there’s an even greater need for organizations like TREIA to help facilitate discussion. There’s a lot of work to do with integration and interface challenges. The technologies are there – the challenge is in the adapting and applying them in new ways to make this all work together.”