FERC down to 1 Commissioner, and you can help keep it without a quorum

On the way out before her last day at FERC Friday, Collete D. Honorable said “Bring on more renewables”. So why didn’t she do anything in the 2.5 years she was a FERC Commissioner? Oh, right, that’s forbidden at FERC; witness former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff who predicted in 2013 that more U.S. electricity would come from solar power than any other source within a decade, and he got pushed out the door. Nevermind he was right.


Honorable at an EBA event in 2016 | © RTO Insider
Michael Brooks, RTO Insider, 28 April 2017, No 2nd Term for FERC’s Colette Honorable

You can help keep FERC without a quorum by calling your U.S. Senator to oppose the two nominees so far.

And how about you, the one remaining Commissioner, Acting Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur? You may not be able to have a Commission vote, but you could direct FERC staff to stop approving pipelines going in service and concentrate on solar and wind power and a smart grid.

The front page of ferc.gov says “Closure Notice”. Got my hopes up, but it’s only about being closed on the Fourth of July. However, it also links to a press release of 8 February 2017 that says Acting Chairman LaFleur and Commissioner Honorable also have decided, in view of the lack of a quorum, to suspend subsequent monthly agenda meetings until further notice. That’s five months and counting with no FERC Commission meetings. Not nearly long enough, unless they decide to turn to sun and wind power.

Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 27 June 2017, ‘Bring on more renewables,’ U.S. regulator says as grid study looms,

Colette Honorable, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a conference that renewables have different attributes than base load power, which includes coal and nuclear energy, and that those difference need to be overcome.

But Honorable stressed that record amounts of wind and solar power had been generated recently without harming the grid.

“Do I recognize we have to be attendant to supporting the different ways in which renewables work? Yes,” said Honorable, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, a Democrat, and who will step down on Friday.

“I don’t see any problems with reliability, and I say bring on more renewables,” said Honorable, whose remarks generated warm applause at a conference of the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration arm.

President Donald Trump, a Republican, has embarked on a program to dismantle Obama’s clean-energy policies as renewable power generation hits records.

In February, wind briefly powered more than 50 percent of electricity demand in the 14-state Southwest Power Pool, for the first time on any North American grid.

In March, wind and solar accounted for more than 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation for the first time.

The Energy Department is expected to release the grid study in July. It will take a critical look at the role that renewable energy policies have played in the closure of coal and nuclear electricity plants and see if the loss of those facilities has reduced the grid’s stability.

You know what has reduced the grid’s reliability? FERC not approving new long-distance electrical lines. Let’s add some of those and a lot of solar and wind power, and by 2035 we can convert the grid and by 2050 everything to sun, wind, and water power. Some big utilities are already going solar panels, heck yeah! It won’t be long before many of them start demanding renewable energy conversion. FERC: lead or get out of the way.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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