Yesterday Richard Glick, the former general counsel for the Democratic Party on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Commission, joined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as its fourth commissioner. Both Glick and Kevin McIntyre, a Republican who is positioned to serve as chair, were confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 2.
Glick brings a complex history to FERC. In addition to working for the Democratic Party, Glick was VP of government affairs for Spanish power company Iberdrola’s U.S. operations, including its renewable energy unit. Before this he also served in executive roles for PPM Energy and PacifiCorp.
And while the timeline under which Glick worked for the Democratic Party is unclear, depending on when he served as general counsel the leadership of this committee would be very different. Until January of this year, oil industry ally Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) served as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The Democrats lost control of the committee as a result of losing their majority in the Senate during the November 2016 election. Landrieu also lost her seat and was replaced by clean energy advocate Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) as the top Democrat in that committee.
Glick joins FERC as current Chair Neil Chatterjee (R) attempts to ram through some form of short-term support for coal and nuclear power plants, which are being driven offline largely as a result of cheap gas generation.
This move by Chatterjee towards short-term support comes as FERC is mired in controversy over attempts to implement an order by the Department of Energy (DOE) which would pay the operating costs of “fuel-secure generation”, as defined to mean coal and nuclear power. Opposition to this approach has come from a wide range of actors in the energy sector and eight former FERC commissioners, who warned that such a move would undermine competitive electricity markets.
Correction: This article was corrected around 11 AM EST on November 30. We previously identified the new commissioner as Robert Glick, but his name is actually Richard. We regret the error.