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Washington Examiner: Trump appointee becomes leading climate problem solver

Posted by Josh Siegel on Oct 29, 2020

The Washington Examiner covered the record of the Trump-appointed FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee on climate and carbon pricing, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis. Read excerpts below and the full piece here.

Neil Chatterjee, a Kentucky Republican, used to be known as Mitch McConnell’s coal guy, eager to advance President Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda as chairman of an obscure but powerful regulatory agency. Now, as he nears the potential end of his chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Chatterjee is staking a claim as one of the government’s leading problem solvers on addressing climate change.

Chatterjee says his evolution is a natural outgrowth of his transition from political operative as McConnell’s former top energy staffer to an independent regulator...

“Chatterjee’s actions have been a study in contrasts for us,” said Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel of Advanced Energy Economy, a group representing clean energy companies.

“We have had trouble squaring those two things,” Dennis said, comparing the carbon-pricing action to the order challenging clean energy subsidies.

Dennis credited Chatterjee with other actions that have opened doors for clean energy. Last month, the commission approved an order allowing distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles and their supply equipment, to participate in wholesale electricity markets and be compensated for it. The order is similar to another FERC action issued two years ago that broke down barriers to allow energy storage to compete in electricity markets.

But Dennis and Hartman faulted Chatterjee’s execution on the PJM MOPR, which has led to Democratic states with clean energy policies considering pulling themselves from the competitive power markets that FERC oversees...

Dennis said the move was demonstrative of the increasing tensions between states and the FERC over recent years. He said Chatterjee is inappropriately favoring carbon pricing over other solutions.

“They put the markets on a collision course with states, “ Dennis said. “We want states to have all the tools they can possibly have to promote carbon reductions...”

Read the entire Washington Examiner piece here.

Topics: AEE In The News