FERC Comissioner Glick warns of grid ‘peril’ from agency order
A recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling on the nation’s largest electricity market could endanger some U.S. grid operators, Democratic FERC Commissioner Richard Glick told a gathering of state energy officials yesterday.
“If we don’t reassess where we’re heading, one: We’re going to put in peril the future of [regional transmission organizations] in general, because the states are going to pull out,” Glick said at a National Association of State Energy Officials summit in Washington, D.C. “Secondly, I think we’re just going to create more and more [FERC] litigation as energy prices continue to fall.”
FERC under Republican Chairman Neil Chatterjee recently ordered changes to the PJM Interconnection capacity market that extend the so-called minimum offer price rule to any electricity resource receiving state subsidies, including renewable energies such as wind and solar (Energywire, Dec. 20, 2019). Republican FERC commissioners said that the ruling was needed to preserve a fair market that is skewed by state subsidies.
The move drew heavy blowback from Democrats, some utilities and clean energy advocates, who said that FERC’s decision would force renewable and nuclear resources to compete at higher rates, harming the outlook for those markets in PJM’s territory. Critics have suggested states pursuing zero-carbon goals could pull out of PJM or other markets entirely rather than risk hampering their own energy policies.
Glick, who has been highly critical of the change, said FERC is “micromanaging every single aspect” of the capacity markets by fielding constant proposals from grid operators to make changes, and by “almost telling everyone actually bidding in what they can bid in at.”
“It’s really frustrating, and I’m not really sure if we’re achieving anything, because all we’re doing is bringing everything to FERC to litigate every last initiative,” Glick added. “There’s got to be a better way of doing it.”