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Utility Dive: FERC Details Carbon Pricing Conference as Groups Blast Renewables, Consumer and Women Exclusions

Posted by Catherine Morehouse on Sep 9, 2020

Utility Dive reported stakeholder concerns about FERC's agenda for Sept. 30 Carbon Pricing Technical Conference, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here. 

Federal regulators on Friday announced details of a much-anticipated technical conference on carbon pricing, following a request from a broad group of renewable energy, gas and power groups for the commission to look at the issue more closely, but some stakeholders expressed disappointment with the lineup, decrying a lack of representation from renewable energy and consumer advocates, as well as lack of gender diversity...

Of the 30 panelists lined up for the technical conference to be hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, seven represent grid operators or their market monitors and seven represent energy companies, but none represent renewable energy or consumer interests, and only one represents state interests. Other speakers include academics, consultants, trade groups and law firms. Three of the speakers are women. 

Critics of the lineup say leaving consumer advocates and states out of the discussion is a misstep — for one thing, it won't help mounting state and federal tensions over wholesale market policy, said Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), one of the stakeholders that requested FERC convene the discussion... Stakeholder feedback has been largely supportive of the carbon pricing conference in comments filed with FERC.

But some groups later knocked the commission for neglecting to include key stakeholders that are shaping the debate in the real world.

It's "a missed opportunity for FERC to lead a full and honest discussion about moving wholesale markets toward the decarbonized electricity system policymakers, customers, and the public are increasingly demanding," said Dennis in an email.

"It also does nothing to get beyond the federal-state schism caused by FERC's MOPR rulings," he said. "[T]his conference could have been the first in a series of discussions of how this and other state policies can be accommodated and facilitated in wholesale markets, rather than simply ‘mitigated,' which is what FERC is trying to do with policies like MOPR."

A wide array of groups has been advocating for FERC to take a closer look at carbon pricing.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has been considering a carbon pricing mechanism since 2018, and other stakeholders including the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), Natural Gas Supply Association, AEE, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in April wrote to FERC requesting that it look more closely at the benefits of pricing carbon across wholesale electricity markets...

Read the entire UD piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News