Earlier this year, we lost a Smart Grid pioneer, educator, mentor, advocate and friend. Erich Gunther, EnerNex co-founder and CTO, passed away unexpectedly on June 18, 2016 at the age of 57.
Erich dedicated over 30 years of his life to transforming the electric power industry. An IEEE Fellow, he was passionate about all things IEEE. He served on the governing board of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and helped launch the IEEE Smart Grid community. He participated on countless technical committees, boards and councils; including Chair of the PES Intelligent Grid Coordinating Committee, the P1159.3 Task Force on Power Quality Data Interchange and Vice Chair of the Harmonics Working Group, to name a few.
Erich was on the original team that developed EPRI’s IntelliGrid Architecture and helped oversee its development through its first major application at Southern California Edison for the utility’s AMI and Smart Grid programs. In 2004, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) GridWise Architecture Council, served as its chairman from 2010-2012 and continued to actively participate as member and chairman emeritus. He was also Vice Chair of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) board of directors.
One of his greatest skills was his gift to connect people. He shared his knowledge freely and could often be found at the podium or an impromptu roundtable. Through his active participation in so many organizations, he continually befriended and brought together industry experts, government officials and academia to help overcome the many technology and regulatory hurdles in making the smart grid a reality. He knew the reality that it would take the entire “village” to achieve. He is already sorely missed by the entire electric power industry.
He worked with unequaled passion and perseverance to champion new technologies and new concepts; the greatest way we can honor him is by carrying on the efforts to engineer a cleaner, smarter energy system of the future with the same vigor and determination.
The IEEE Foundation has created the Erich Gunther Memorial Fund to honor his contributions and to empower young minds. Supporting this fund helps future power professionals and ambitious students who are pushing the boundaries of current thought to make our industry better. If you’d like to honor Erich’s legacy by contributing to this fund, please visit: https://ieeefoundation.org/erichgunther.