Alissa Baker is a Senior Technical Advisor, Offshore Transmission at the Grid Deployment Office (GDO). She is currently designing and managing the U.S. Department of Energy's Atlantic and West Coast offshore wind transmission convening efforts in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Prior to this, Alissa spent nine years working on transmission planning, generation interconnection, stakeholder engagement, and cross-agency collaboration at the Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest. Alissa holds a master's degree in renewable energy engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology.
What’s one word you would use to describe GDO?
What inspired you to work in the energy and grid realm?
Transmission is the artery system that sustains our nation, communities, and basic way of life. So dedicating my career to it felt like the most sensible way to do the most good for our planet and the people around me — even if most of those people are unaware of how important the transmission grid is to their daily lives.
What most interested you about coming to work at GDO?
It is a chance to tackle real problems at a national level and work across organizational boundaries.
What excites you about your work at GDO?
It gives me a chance to learn — I get to go hunting for the very best ideas from industry, states, communities, utilities, and regulators. I get to talk with experts and bright young minds. I get to troubleshoot with the best folks in the field and then I get to put those ideas in the limelight to help everyone else learn and we can all work to put those ideas into practice.
What does a typical day at GDO look like for you?
What’s one thing you wish more people understood about offshore wind transmission?
It’s going to happen one way or the other. We can either do it thoughtfully and proactively, or we can ignore it and let it grow into chaos and inefficiency on its own. Building transmission in federal waters is a chance to start from a clean slate — something you never get with our onshore grid — and we owe it to the local communities, ratepayers, and next generation of engineers and operators to do it right the first time.
Do you have any tips for someone looking to enter your field of work?
Don’t be scared. If it feels overwhelming and confusing, press in and ask over and over and over again until you find someone who can explain it clearly. If you feel overwhelmed and confused, that means you are tackling an issue that overwhelms and confuses other people too and we need more people who are willing to learn and talk about those overwhelming and confusing things.