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Thursday, July 13, 2023 | 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Location: Room W209B

During this roundtable discussion – open to all attendees – C-level executives from a variety of utility companies will discuss the challenges they face and the opportunities they see in hydropower generation and markets. They will address the changes they are making to help lead the industry through ongoing transitions in markets, policies, and more.

Learn more about Jimmy D. Staton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Santee Cooper, in an executive interview conducted by Hydro Review's content director here.

Joseph F. Kessler, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, New York power Authority 

Joe Kessler

Joseph F. Kessler, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, oversees NYPA’s power generation and transmission assets, commercial operations and the New York State Canal Corporation’s operations. 

Before assuming this role in 2016, Joe was Senior Vice President of Power Generation, responsible for oversight of NYPA’s generating facilities across New York State. After starting his career at an electrical construction firm designing and building systems, Joe joined NYPA in 2001 as an engineer in the Electrical Maintenance department. 

Joe is Chairman of NYPA’s Asset Management Board and is a member of NYPA’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee. He also serves as Executive Sponsor of NYPA’s Multicultural Employee Resource Group. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (Energy Systems), and an MBA from SUNY at Buffalo, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and Maryland. 

Joe is a board member of the Hydropower Research Institute and the Northland Workforce Development Center, has served on the Electric Power Research Institute’s Generation Sector and Research Advisory Councils, and is on the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative Board Working Group and the Large Public Power Council’s Operational Executive Working Group. He is a member of SUNY at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council. 

Joe is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a member of the Erie-Niagara Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. 

A lifelong Western New Yorker, Joe and his wife Lisa live in West Seneca and have three children. 

Meet the Speakers

Jimmy D. Staton, President and Chief Executive Officer, Santee Cooper


As President and CEO of Santee Cooper, Jimmy D. Staton is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the state-owned electric and water utility, advancing Santee Cooper’s mission to be the leading resource for improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

Prior to joining Santee Cooper, Jimmy served for more than five years as the President and CEO of Southern Star Central Corporation, a leading transporter of natural gas, with approximately 5,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline in the Midwest and Mid-Continent regions of the United States. He also has served as Executive Vice President and Group CEO for NiSource Inc., one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, with approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across seven states; as Senior Vice President for Dominion Resources Inc.; and as President of Asset Operations for Consolidated Natural Gas (CNG) Company prior to its acquisition in 2000 by Dominion Resources.

Jimmy is on the Board of Directors for The Energy Authority (TEA), Southern Gas Association (SGA) and a member of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC). He is an active member of the Trident CEO Council and CRDA’s Economic Leadership Council. Jimmy graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering. Jimmy enjoys sporting events, live music, golf and the great outdoors. He and his wife, Karen, have two adult sons and a granddaughter. The Statons currently reside in Summerville and have a home in North Myrtle Beach, where they have been Santee Cooper customers for 15 years.

Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive Officer, Volta River Authority

Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa

Mr. Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, a Civil Engineer, began his career at the Volta River Authority (VRA) in 1985. He served in various roles at VRA until 2002, when he joined the Ministry of Energy as Director of Power (secondment) until 2009. After leaving VRA in 2012, he started a private engineering consultancy before becoming Chief Executive.

With over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, Mr. Antwi-Darkwa has extensive knowledge of Ghana's energy sector and international power system development. He is skilled in strategic planning, policy formulation, contract negotiations, and has worked on significant power projects such as the 400 MW Bui hydroelectric power project and the expansion of the 220 MW Takoradi Thermal Power Plant.

He has also been involved in government negotiations, including the VALCO Agreements and the Bui Project. Mr. Antwi-Darkwa is experienced in the oil and gas business, including international transactions and contractual arrangements.

Mr. Antwi-Darkwa holds an MBA in International Oil & Gas Management from the University of Dundee, a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. He is a member of professional bodies such as the Ghana Institution of Engineers, International Hydropower Association, Society of Petroleum Engineers, and Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. He has received various awards, including the 2018 'Energy Personality of the Year' and an induction as an Honorary Fellow by the Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management, Ghana, in 2019.

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