January 22, 2021

President Biden Promotes Glick to FERC Chair

Holland & Knight Energy and Natural Resources Blog
Mark C. Kalpin | Brendan H. Connors
wind turbine and solar panel

President Joe Biden on Jan. 21, 2020 named Commissioner Richard Glick as the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Commissioner Glick – who formerly was the general counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – was nominated by former President Donald Trump as a Commissioner in August 2017, and confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 2, 2017. With the recent confirmations of Democrat Allison Clements and Republican Mark Christie, FERC's five-person Commission is now fully seated for the first time since December 2018.

During his tenure, Commissioner Glick has focused on certain policy items – often in lone dissent from the Republican-led Commission in the past few years – that provide insight into his likely priorities as the chairman. These include:

  • an emphasis on the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions in connection with the proposed natural gas pipeline and liquefied natural gas terminal projects
  • skepticism of proposed buyer-side mitigation rules that are targeted at state-subsidized renewable electricity resources seeking to participate in the organized electric wholesale markets, including any future effort to expand the reach of FERC's controversial December 2019 Order approving PJM Interconnection's "Minimum Offer Price Rule"
  • incentivizing the construction of new electric transmission lines to more fully integrate renewable generation resources (including offshore and remote wind resources) into the electric grid
  • promoting the participation of distributed energy resources (DERs) in organized electric wholesale markets, and
  • supporting carbon emissions pricing in these wholesale markets

Commissioner Glick recently announced that, if appointed as chair, he would focus on "updating transmission policy, reassessing capacity market operations in relation to their impacts on state policies, and continuing to lower barriers to nascent clean energy technologies." With respect to natural gas, he stated that FERC "should rethink how it assesses greenhouse gas emissions and more seriously review environmental justice impacts when approving gas infrastructure."

Three out of five seats on the Commission are occupied by Republican appointees, with Chairman Glick and Commissioner Clements being the only Democratic appointees. Although Democrats will remain in the minority until July 2021, Chairman Glick nevertheless is expected to receive some level of bipartisan support on his transmission reform, carbon pricing and renewable generation integration initiatives from Commissioner Neil Chatterjee and Commissioner Christie.

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