Governors tell FERC to steer clear of state policies

Source: By Sam Mintz, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2018

A bipartisan group of governors told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today to keep its hands off state renewable energy policies.

A letter to FERC’s four commissioners from the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition, which is made up of 19 state executives, warned of a “dangerous shift in the balance between state and federal authority.”

It referred to the commission’s recent decision to call for a major change in the capacity market operated by PJM Interconnection, which operates the electric grid in 13 Eastern states and the District of Columbia.

FERC’s July order said that PJM’s current tariff is not workable because it fails to protect competition in the region’s wholesale capacity market from state policies primarily designed to boost renewable resources.

FERC’s suggested fix, which is still under consideration by PJM, could force those state-supported resources out of the capacity market altogether (Energywire, July 2).

“The Commission should abandon this intrusion into state prerogatives,” wrote the coalition, which is led by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and comprises 11 Democrats and eight Republicans.

“The Commission must let states retain their historical right to choose their own mix of energy generating resources and policies with minimal federal interference. The Commission must discover ways to regulate markets in ways that complement state policy preferences and objectives rather than overriding or negating them,” the letter continues.

The governors urged FERC to “refocus” its policy decisions on reliability and making markets more efficient.

The effort was praised by clean energy advocates such as EarthJustice’s Kim Smaczniak, who wrote on Twitter that it represents a “strong statement to FERC by a diverse group of states to stop treading on state policy.”

Smaczniak noted the coalition includes several PJM states: Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Illinois and Maryland.