Head of Bonneville Power Administration retiring - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Head of Bonneville Power Administration retiring

Posted: Updated:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The head of the Bonneville Power Administration, who weathered the 2001 energy crisis and longstanding court battles over making the Northwest's hydroelectric dams safer for salmon, is retiring.

The agency announced Tuesday that Steve Wright will step down at the end of January 2013. Bonneville manages power from 31 federal dams in the Columbia Basin and operates more than 15,000 miles of transmission lines that carry electricity across the West.

It supplies about 40 percent of the power for the Pacific Northwest, and oversees much of the region's salmon conservation projects. Wright worked his way up through the agency, was named acting administrator in 2000 and got the permanent post in 2001.