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FERC and Regulatory Capture // ERCOT Grid Warning // MVP Gets Green Light

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: experts weigh FERC’s effectiveness, ERCOT warns of potential blackouts, and the Mountain Valley Pipeline gets the go-ahead from regulators.

Has FERC Fallen Victim to Regulatory Capture?

With Order 1920 finalized, UtilityDive’s Ethan Howland recently explored whether or not the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has become a victim of regulatory capture, which occurs when a governmental agency that is supposed to act in the public interest works instead to benefit the industry it oversees.

In the article, Howland interviews scholars and officials from both sides of the aisle. One interviewee, Shelley Welton, a professor of law and energy policy at the University of Pennsylvania, says no:

“I do not in any way think that [Order 1920] reflects some capture of the majority of the commission by the clean energy industry or clean energy states. I think the rule is firmly grounded in changes that will save consumers money.”

Travis Fisher, a former Economic Advisor at FERC and the current Director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the Cato Institute, thinks it has:

“By the nature of the beast, you hear from the folks who have the most at stake, and those are not the individual consumers that you’re supposed to be serving.”

Read the full article here.

ERCOT Warns of Rolling Blackouts this Summer

Feed the Beast

There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that Texas could see rolling blackouts in the coming months. Citing increased power demand brought on by higher temperatures and the intermittency of renewables, ERCOT warned at a recent hearing that there is a 12% chance that the state will see controlled blackouts in August.

At the hearing, which was before the House Committee on State Affairs, State Public Utility Committee Commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty advocated that Texas turn to nuclear power to meet rising demand.

"The time for new policy and financial investment by state leaders in nuclear is now. Other states have taken the opportunity. They meet more regularly and they have provided state resources, that they are considered the leaders in this nuclear space."

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