Tuesday, December 1, 2020
On November 30, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed the paired nominations of Allison Clements and Mark Christie for seats on the Federal Power Regulatory Fee (FERC). The nomination returns the Fee to a full 5 members for the primary time since January 2019.
Ms. Clements, the Democratic nominee, is an legal professional with in depth expertise within the power business, together with serving as Director of the Pure Useful resource Protection Council’s Sustainable FERC Challenge and as a marketing consultant to wash power pursuits. Mr. Christie, the Republican nominee, has served for the previous 16 years on the Virginia State Company Fee, which regulates the state’s utilities. He has additionally performed plenty of necessary regional roles, together with serving as President of the Group of PJM States, which represents the pursuits of affected states within the operation of the PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission group that serves the Mid-Atlantic area. The pair obtained robust bipartisan assist, with the notable exception of Sen. John Barraso (R-WY), who would chair the Senate Power Committee if Republicans preserve management, and who opposed Clements’ nomination.
After a interval of speedy turnover amongst Commissioners, there may be appreciable hope for a interval of stability at FERC. Particularly, the confirmations make it most unlikely that FERC will probably be left with out an working quorum, as occurred at first of the Trump Administration, when Commissioner Norman Bay, who had been Chair underneath the Obama Administration, resigned and no new nominees had been put ahead by the incoming administration, leaving the Fee unable to behave for a number of months. A number of questions regarding the composition of the Fee within the Biden Administration stay to be answered:
Who will probably be Chair? Upon his inauguration, President Biden could have the privilege of appointing a brand new FERC Chair. The FERC Chair has the authority to set the Fee’s agenda and the appointment is due to this fact of explicit significance for the route of the company. Though both Commissioner Richard Glick or new Commissioner Clements could possibly be named Chair, most observers imagine Commissioner Glick will probably be named Chair due to his expertise on the Fee. Commissioner Glick has indicated that his priorities will probably be electrical transmission coverage, reassessing FERC insurance policies regarding organized capability markets which have introduced FERC into battle with many states, and lowering boundaries to new power applied sciences like battery storage.
Will a Republican majority stay? When the social gathering controlling the Presidency adjustments palms, it has been frequent follow for the FERC Chair of the alternative social gathering to resign quite than persevering with to serve underneath the brand new administration. The present transition to the Biden Administration might be an exception. The present chair, James Danly, is a comparatively latest appointment and was named Chair lower than a month in the past, so he could properly elect to stay on the Fee. Republican Commissioner Neil Chatterjee’s time period expires in June 2020, and he has indicated he intends to serve till the tip of his time period. If he does so, a Republican FERC majority might endure for the primary a number of months of the Biden Administration. Nonetheless, Commissioner Chatterjee’s vow to serve till the tip of his time period got here earlier than he was summarily eliminated as Chair by the Trump Administration shortly after the election. Commissioner Chatterjee has brazenly speculated that the transfer was in retaliation for his willingness to think about carbon pricing within the FERC-regulated “organized” markets operated by Impartial System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations. These political maneuvers could reduce Commissioner Chatterjee’s urge for food for persevering with to serve.
© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC Nationwide Regulation Evaluate, Quantity X, Quantity 336