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Houston Chronicle: FERC to Examine Carbon Pricing, as Climate Pressure Ramps Up

Posted by James Osborne on Jun 19, 2020

Houston Chronicle covered FERC plans for a conference on carbon pricing mechanisms, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis. Read excerpts below and the entire Houston Chronicle piece here (sub. req.). 

The nation’s top energy regulator is looking into what role it might play in state efforts to set a price on greenhouse gas emissions, stepping into a politically fraught arena as the federal government comes under increasing pressure to address climate change. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the nation’s power and natural gas markets, has set up a conference in September to discuss legal and regulatory issues around carbon pricing mechanisms that charge power plants, factories facilities and other large emitters for their emissions.

While the commission has offered no guidance on what if any action it will take, the move signals a potential advance in federal climate policy even as President Donald Trump downplays the threat and Congress shows little appetite for imposing charges on carbon emissions...

The idea for the conference grew from a petition in April from a coalition representing much of the country’s power sector, including electric utilities, merchant power companies, wind energy developers and natural gas companies — including Houston-based Calpine Energy and NRG Energy and Vistra Energy, which is headquartered outside Dallas.

“There’s a lot of different ways states could think about doing carbon pricing,” said Jeff Dennis, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group representing clean energy interests, which was among the groups that petitioned FERC for the conference.
“FERC has never sat down and said what would happen if we have more and more states doing carbon pricing and what would that look like in our markets.”

While FERC is hosting the conference in September, widespread skepticism remains that the Republican-controlled commission would go so far as to set rules for the operation of state and regional carbon markets — in effect offering their seal of approval to the programs...

Read the entire Houston Chronicle piece here (sub. req.). 

Topics: AEE In The News