WASHINGTONU.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 named Richard Glick, a Democrat, to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), where he could eventually lead the panel to consider lowering barriers for emerging clean energy technologies.

Richard Glick (Source: FERC)
Richard Glick (Source: FERC)

Glick was appointed by former President Donald Trump to the commission in August 2017. Before that he was general counsel for Democrats on the Senate energy committee, and a policy adviser on electricity and renewable energy. His term does not require Senate confirmation and goes through June 2022.

“This is an important moment to make significant progress on the transition to a clean energy future,” Glick said on Twitter.

Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. predicted that the Glick-led FERC will try to revise the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and more strictly regulate greenhouse gas emissions for natural gas pipeline and LNG export projects. The permitting processes most likely to be impacted in the near term would be the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Pembina’s Jordan Cove LNG export facility in Oregon.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), incoming chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a statement congratulating Glick and noting his birpartisan support during the confirmation hearings.

“I look forward to working with Mr. Glick and his four colleagues to ensure that the commission fulfills its important role of ensuring reliable supplies of natural gas and electricity at just and reasonable prices,” Manchin said.

FERC is expected to have a 3-2 Republican majority until the term of Neil Chatterjee, a Republican, ends on June 30. If Republican James Danly, who had served briefly as chair after Trump demoted Chatterjee who had promoted the use of carbon markets by states, resigns, the panel would have two Democratic and two Republican.

FERC, officially an independent panel of the Energy Department, regulates the transmission of electricity and natural gas across states and reviews large energy projects including LNG terminals.

Glick dissented on recent FERC rulings such as the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) expansion in the regional electricity transmission organization serving states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland known as PJM, the largest U.S. power grid operator.

The rule directed PJM to force state-subsidized solar and wind electricity providers to raise bids in capacity markets, a move that renewable energy companies and environmental groups blasted as a partisan attempt to protect fossil fuels.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan research group, said that under Glick, FERC could be receptive to carbon market plans by states and to modifications of the MOPR in PJM.

Glick also may also champion measures to consider carbon emissions and environmental justice when approving pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.

Hart Energy contributed to this report.