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Biden appoints Democratic Richard Glick as the new FERC head

Barely a month into his Presidency, Joe Biden has shaken up things in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He has appointed a fellow democrat, Richard Glick, as the new chair of the federal agency.

Glick has been an opponent of most of the agency’s policies spelled out during Trumps’ tenure, and Biden has named him in line with the changes his administrations is advocating for. During Trump’s rule, FERC’s policies were not clean-energy friendly. As a regulatory authority, it hindered the efforts of the green energy sector.

Clean energy groups have applauded Glick’s appointment naming it a crucial early phase in the implementation of a Biden supporter on energy and climate push at the top position. As an authority figure in the federal agency, Glick will oversee that regulatory authorities bring sustainable change in interstate electricity transmission as well as natural gas networks.

Before his appointment, Glick served as a director in charge of Avangrid Renewables and Iberdrola. He was also a senior advisor for the Democrats on the Committee of Senate on Energy and Natural Resources. He succeeds James Danly, a Republican, who has worked in the position for barely three months. Before Trump appointed Danly to the chair, long-term Republican chair Neil Chatterjee served in the post.

Glick has previously expressed his dissatisfaction with the previous regime’s policies on several occasions. For instance, he opposed the FERC minimum offer price rule that reduced the competitiveness of state-subsidized energy network under the Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland (PJM) Power pool.

During a December 2019 meeting, he said, “What we are doing here, and we are doing it on purpose, is making it very difficult for state-preferred resources to clear in the capacity market.”

He also condemned the New York grid operator NYISO’s buyer-side mitigation rules and the endorsement of ISO New England’s capacity and fuel security market designs. The latter’s designs received a lot of backlash from federal lawmakers who thought they undermined clean energy’s efficiency as a grid source.

Republicans are still the majority voters in FERC after the agency retained Danly and Chatterjee and added a third member, Mark Christie. Two democrats fill the five-member group, lick and Allison Clements. Voting in favor of Democrats will need a lot of work.

According to Jeff Dennis, a senior advisor at Advance Energy Economy, one of the republicans has to vote in favor of policies backed by Democrats to change earlier policies. ” It would require at least 3 votes if it were to issue anything on its own to step back on the strategy,” said Dennis. “Right now, we don’t know where the third vote lies.”

FERC has had some pretty good decisions. One of the policies that attracted massive support was reforming policies to upscale the expansion of transmission grids to permit solar power and wind to increase. Expansion of these grids will enable the US to achieve its zero-emission targets.

The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) has applauded Biden’s choice. “We have enjoyed a great partnership with now-chairman Glick, and together with all the FERC commissioners, we hope to continue the discussion,” said Todd Snitchler, EPSA’s CEO. “EPSA will continue to provide market-based solutions that allow all resources to compete to reduce emissions at the least cost without undermining reliability.”