Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
By Rebecca Kern
Republican and Democratic nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agreed that the agency should be technology neutral when it comes to regulating electric power generation, differing from a pro-coal stance of the current FERC chairman.
The FERC nominees were in line with the traditional viewpoint of an independent energy regulator, which is to not favor any particular energy resource. However, these comments seem to contrast with the pro-coal rhetoric from current FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee and the Trump White House, which has repeatedly promised to bring back coal jobs.
“FERC is not an entity whose role includes choosing fuels for the generation of electricity,” Kevin McIntyre, who was nominated for a Republican commissioner seat, said at a Sept. 7 Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing. McIntyre, who was also nominated to serve as chairman of the commission, is an attorney in the Washington offices of the Jones Day law firm.
Richard Glick, who has been nominated to fill a Democratic commissioner seat, said, “The commission doesn’t have the authority —not should it—to prop up failing technologies.” Glick is currently a Democratic general counsel for the Senate ENR committee.
The comments contrast with those made by Chatterjee—the agency’s appointed chairman until McIntyre is confirmed—in an Aug. 14 FERC podcast. Chatterjee, the former energy aide for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said that coal-fired power plants, as well as nuclear plants, are a crucial part of America’s energy mix that needed to be “properly compensated to recognize the value they provide.”
He also said in the podcast, “You know, I’m a Kentucky native— I’ve seen firsthand throughout my life how important a contribution coal makes to an affordable and reliable electric system.”
When asked about the Energy Department’s grid reliability study, which was published Aug. 23, both nominees said that the significant loss of baseload coal and nuclear energy generation has not impaired the reliability of the wholesale electric markets to date.
However, Glick said, “I think both FERC and the Department of Energy need to keep an eye on that and continue to study the matter.”
McIntyre and Glick were also on the same page when it came to supporting states’ rights to establish an energy resource mix that best serves their customers, which would include creating renewable portfolio standards, or requirements that utilities supply certain amounts of electricity from renewable sources.
“Congress has left for the states the authority over utility resource decision making, so that’s not FERC’s role,” Glick said.
Likewise, McIntyre said, “The states have the absolute right to implement these renewable portfolio standards.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) asked the nominees whether they thought that solar and wind resources could be reliably integrated into the grid.
Glick said that nine states get more than 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources, and none have had reliability problems.
In response to the question, McIntyre said, “In part due to actions taken in recent years by the FERC, renewable energy resources are making their way reliably to our grid.”
Committee Chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters after the hearing that she wants to hold a vote on the nominees by late next week. If the two nominees are confirmed by the Senate, it will bring FERC back to a full five commissioners.
“It is my intention to urge my colleagues to get their questions in and to ask you to be rapid with your responses so that you can be moved through and so that you can get to work,” Murkowski said during the hearing.
To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)