Biden names Democrat Glick to chair energy regulatory panel

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday named Richard Glick, a Democrat, to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he could eventually lead the panel to consider lowering barriers for emerging clean energy technologies.

Glick was appointed by former President Donald Trump to the commission in August, 2017. Before that he was general counsel for Democrats on the Senate energy committee, and a policy adviser on electricity and renewable energy. His term does not require Senate confirmation and goes through June, 2022.

“This is an important moment to make significant progress on the transition to a clean energy future,” Glick said on Twitter.

FERC is expected to have a 3-2 Republican majority until the term of Neil Chatterjee, a Republican, ends on June 30. If Republican James Danly, who had served briefly as chair after Trump demoted Chatterjee who had promoted the use of carbon markets by states, resigns, the panel would have two Democratic and two Republican.

FERC, officially an independent panel of the Energy Department, regulates the transmission of electricity and natural gas across states and reviews large energy projects including liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

Glick dissented on recent FERC rulings such as the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) expansion in the regional electricity transmission organization serving states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland known as PJM, the largest U.S. power grid operator.

The rule directed PJM to force state-subsidized solar and wind electricity providers to raise bids in capacity markets, a move that renewable energy companies and environmental groups blasted as a partisan attempt to protect fossil fuels.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan research group, said that under Glick, FERC could be receptive to carbon market plans by states and to modifications of the MOPR in PJM.

Glick also may also champion measures to consider carbon emissions and environmental justice when approving pipelines and other fossil fuel projects.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy