Erich W. Gunther

Erich W. Gunther

Chairman, CTO and Co-Founder

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Erich helps EnerNex clients define their strategic direction in basic R&D, technology, and product development. Erich has 30 years of experience in the design and development of innovative solutions to a wide array of power system problems, most notably in ways to take advantage of communications networks and technology to improve the efficiency, operating practices, and security of the electric power system. Erich also developed the concept for and leads EnerNex Smart Grid Labs - a facility for grid modernization technology research, development, evaluation, and testing. In 2011 Erich was recognized for his career long work in the field of electric power quality by being named an IEEE Fellow.

In 2004, Erich was appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) GridWise Architecture Council, served as its Chairman from 2010-2012 and continues to actively participate as member and chairman emeritus. The council is a team of experts assembled to articulate the guiding principles that constitute the architecture of a future, highly interoperable, intelligent, energy system.

Erich is an international recognized expert in the field of harmonic and transient analysis of power systems. He has provided advanced system analysis services to numerous utilities over his career including leading the modeling teams supporting complicated transmission expansion projects in the northeast US, solving arc furnace light flicker issues through the simulation and design of static var compensation systems, solving harmonic distortion induced operational problems with the Atlanta Airport people mover system, determining the root cause of major utility equipment failures, and many more.

Erich has been extremely active in grid modernization and automation through the IEEE and other organizations and is most well-known for his leadership in fostering collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate technology adoption in the energy industry. Erich serves on the IEEE PES Governing Board as member-at-large for Smart Grid, is past-chair of the PES Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee, and is a member of the IEEE Smart Grid Steering Committee. Erich also serves on the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) board of directors, the UTC Smart Networks Council board, and is the Chairman of the Board of the Utility Communications Architecture International Users Group (UCAIug).

Erich and his team have been active in developing energy system resiliency strategies through multiple projects and thought leadership activities for utilities, Fortune 500 companies, municipalities, and non-profit institutions – each with a unique point of view and sometimes conflicting requirements. In 2013, Erich and was retained by the New York New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee and PSE&G to provide independent engineering consulting support to help ensure that the power systems serving the stadium and other event venues were ready and able to handle the expected load and perform well under a wide range of contingencies. He and his team also recently completed a study for the California Local Energy Assurance Program (CaLEAP) where a variety of scenarios, architectures and potential implementation technologies were evaluated to ensure that California cities could successfully ensure energy system resilience during the initial minutes to days, and even weeks into a widespread energy outage due to a large scale catastrophic event such as a flood, wildfire, or earthquake.

Erich received his BSEE from Gannon University in 1980 and his Master of Engineering degree in Electric Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984. He is a licensed private helicopter and instrument rated fixed wing airplane pilot and aircraft owner (N1334X), and is an amateur radio operator (WG3Q).