John Baker is a proven utility executive, strategist, engineer and executive consultant. He is the energy editor for Transmission & Distribution World, writing a monthly column entitled “Energy Transitions.” He is also president of Inception Energy Strategies, an executive consultancy serving the utility industry. He has particular expertise in strategic business models, new energy technologies, customer strategies and smart grid. He has given numerous domestic and international presentations on smart grid and other utility of the future topics.
Prior to starting his consulting practice, John served from February to November 2011 as the director of Utility Systems Research at the Pecan Street Project, a research and development organization focused on emerging energy technologies, new utility business models, and customer behavior associated with advanced energy management systems. In that role, he led the development of both a smart grid home research laboratory and a utility-side smart grid research project.
John was the chief strategy officer at Austin Energy from October 2002 to February 2011, creating the organization’s strategic planning function in 2002; helping set its sustainable energy direction; establishing key collaboration agreements with the University of Texas’s Clean Energy Incubator; leading a cross-functional effort that examined solar technologies and related financial structures, resulting in the development of a 30-MW solar plant; and leading the utility’s participation in the development of the Pecan Street Project.
Over the course of his 35-plus-year utility career, he also served as vice president of customer care and marketing, director of system operations and reliability, division manager of distribution system support and manager of distribution engineering.
John earned his BSEE degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from the University of Dallas.