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Talen Energy names new CEO ramping up digital infrastructure focus

From a 1GW data centre campus to two cryptocurrency mining facilities and ambitions to expand digital estate across the US, Talen is one of the largest power generation and infrastructure companies in North America.

By João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

5 Mins

November 05, 2021 | 3:00 AM GMT

Talen Energy Corp. has elevated Alejandro Hernandez to the role of chief executive.

In this expanded role, Hernandez will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s long-term strategy and overall performance, including leadership of the business’ wholesale power generation unit and its Cumulus Growth carbon-free renewables, battery storage and digital infrastructure platform.

Alejandro Hernandez

Hernandez will continue in his current role as president and member of the company’s board of directors.

As part of this leadership transition, Talen has also announced that Ralph Alexander will assume the role of executive chairman of the board.

In his expanded board leadership role, Alexander will focus on an orderly CEO transition while continuing to oversee the company’s federal and state regulatory relationships, including as chair of the company’s nuclear oversight committee.

Alexander said: “It has been an honour and privilege to lead this company as CEO for the last five years, and I am pleased to now serve as Executive Chairman to help oversee the next chapter for Talen. Alex has been my business partner since the take-private of Talen five years ago as we have successfully executed the operating turnaround and transformed the legacy culture of the company.”

Also commenting, Hernandez said: “Our company is at an important inflection point as we transition from the operational turnaround to strategically re-positioning Talen for long-term value creation.

“Our efforts have placed Talen at the epicentre of key global trends, including benefiting from recent commodity market cyclical strength, while anchoring our long-term future to energy transition, decarbonisation and digital infrastructure growth.”

CEO background check

Hernandez was appointed President of Talen and a member of Talen’s board of directors in August 2019, having concurrently served as chief financial officer since the Company’s acquisition and take-private transaction in December 2016.

Prior to joining Talen, Hernandez served as chief financial officer of TerraForm Power, Inc., a contracted renewable power infrastructure company.

He was instrumental in the company’s formation, IPO and in driving its growth and ultimate sale to Brookfield (NYSE: BEP).

TerraForm generated total shareholder returns of over 340% in its initial 2017 sale to Brookfield and over 890% by the time of its 2020 merger with BEP.

Before creating TerraForm, Hernandez was a managing director in the Investment Banking division of Goldman Sachs, joining the firm in 2005.

During his time at Goldman Sachs, Hernandez provided strategic and capital markets advice to management teams and boards of directors. 

He was actively involved in building, growing, and selling several power, technology, renewable energy, and infrastructure platforms including Horizon Wind, First Solar, Enviva, and Talen, among others.

Hernandez serves as an Advisory Board member of BlueVoyant, an enterprise cybersecurity technology company backed by the Pritzker Organization.

He also serves as a Roundtable member of the James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, Houston.

Talen’s infrastructure monopoly

Talen, through its subsidiary, Talen Energy Supply LLC (TES), is one of the largest power generation and infrastructure companies in North America.

TES owns and/or controls approximately 13,000 megawatts of generating capacity in wholesale U.S. power markets, principally in the Mid-Atlantic, Texas and Montana.

Through its subsidiary, Cumulus Growth, Talen is developing a large-scale portfolio of renewable energy, battery storage, and digital infrastructure assets across its expansive footprint.

This includes subsidiary Cumulus Data which is currently developing a 475-Megawatt hyperscale data centre campus located outside Berwick, PA, with the potential to expand operations to other sites across the United States. The facility is expected to be available for lease in the second half of 2022.

The flagship Susquehanna campus will be powered by >1 Gigawatt of carbon-free nuclear power with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud data centre customers in the US.

Deploying at the campus will be Talen’s Cumulus Coin, totalling 300 Megawatts of the total available power.

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João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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