tv Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair on U.S. Energy Markets CSPAN September 7, 2019 2:01am-3:03am EDT
at the 9/11 memorial. live coverage of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on c-span, c-span3, and online at c-span.org. or listen live on the c-span radio app. >> the chair of the federal energy regulatory commission discusses energy markets, policy, and climate change at an event. this is an hour. [applause] >> just to review, we're going to have a conversation and toward the end of the hour, we'll open this up for questions and answers from the broader audience. up partlyan, you grew
in lexington, kentucky. you served as an it's a -- advisor to mitch mcconnell. give us a sense how that background informs or doesn't your approach at approaching policy. >> absolutely. thank you for having me. it's a pleasure to be here today. yes, i did spend a good chunk of my youth in lexington, kentucky, and had the opportunity to serve the senior senator and party leader from kentucky in united states senate, senator mcconnell. in terms of how that informs my work at the commission, you know, i can't quantify how much i learned from senator mcconnell just about his work ethic and his discipline and his leadership style, his approach to governance. his approach to bipartisanship. ofmy working for him, most
-- if not all the legislative initiatives are worked on, they didn't pass the senate with 60 votes. they passed with 85 plus votes. often times, and we're talking substantial legislation on the energy front, multiple form bills, multiple highway bills. these are consequential pieces of legislation and i saw how senator mcconnell worked to bridge the interests of kentuckians with our diverse array of folks in his own conference, as well as across the senate. ultimately, a number of these deals were cut while president obama was in the white house, so we had to ensure legislation could clear both chambers and be signed by the president. that experience prepared me well for my role at the commission. i also havet said, a keen understanding i'm in a different job today. independentn
regulatory agency, where it's incumbent that we view issues in a nonpartisan, neutral, technical way. i think that is important, and that is the distinction and i will be first to admit, with any transition to a job, it took me a while to make that transition from partisan legislative aide to independent regulator. i think the clearest example of that, i'd spent nearly a decade with senator mcconnell advocating for the interest of kentucky. fireusly in kentucky, coal generation is central to kentucky's economy, to its culture. and so when i first came to the commission, one of the issues that we were initially confronted with was a proposal from the department of energy, plantsto compensate coal
for having the attribute of on-site fuel. when i say transitions are difficult here, i am a kentuckian who worked on these policy issues for senator mcconnell and initially, and stink of late, once natural -- one's natural inclination is i want to do something to help the people i care about. but in making that transition to regulator, i take very seriously that in this new role, we have to abide by the record before us and by the evidence. and as difficult as it was for me to swallow, personally, that i could not do something to help the communities that i cared about, at the end of the day, the record that was before us did not justify the action the boe was asking us to take. and we made the decision unanimously to set aside that
proceeding and open a new one. and i think that experience, while challenging, like getting thrust into that, was also a good one for really throwing me in the deep end and showing me i fashion,nd very quick make that transition fom aide to regulator. host: you opened a doc. give us a sense on where that conversation stands. there are legitimate issues. maybe give us also a sense of some of the greatest risks and what the role is. guest: excellent question. the questions that were posed by notdoe, the record did support the action that was taken. resilience, of grid
of what are the attributes of a resilient grid? what do we need to focus on and value? what, if any, potential threats to resilience are there? these are real questions. what we have been carefully doing, the colleagues and i, is pouring through the record which we had today, which is far more robust than the fall of 2017 when the doe was proposed. what we need to first do, and it seems simplistic, but we need to define what we view resilience to be. it is a question we specifically asked in opening the new proceeding, and we have received numerous comments on it. that's the first determination that needs to be made. what constitutes grid resilience? this isn't something that i think will be polarizing or partisan or not feel neutral, but i think there's also merit
to finding what grid resilience is. once we make that determination of what constitutes grid resilience, we then have to evaluate, is there any sort of threat, short-term or long-term, to the resilience of the great? if we determine there is or isn't, what steps to take from their. -- from there. i know it's taken a long time. i hope we'll be able to proceed with the docket soon and in short order, and i think we will do it in a thoughtful, deliberative, evidence-based way. confidencecomplete in my colleagues and the team at the commission that will be able to handle this complex subject. host: any advanced insight on what you're seeing in terms of comments or other factors that some of the biggest risks are, or concerns are? guest: some of the challenges that we're throughout this proceeding and others, energy
transition we're seeing has been remarkable. it's provided tremendous benefit for consumers, for the environment. grid been able to maintain reliability and security. we need to understand what the implications of these changes are. i think one of the things that we're seeing is the increased interdependence of gas and the power sector is one that we need to be cognizant of. if gas 20 years ago, pipeline was interrupted, generator might not have even flinched. today, you might have eight or nine generators, depending on a single gas pipeline. and an outage could have significant consequences. and so understanding where these kinds of potential dynamics, how they impact the reliability and security of the grid is
important and it's a worthwhile question to look at. i've been pleased to see the action that has been taken by some of the rto's and ico's to do in-depth field security, analyses of their own systems. and again, this isn't something that's political or based on putting a thumb on the scale for one fuel source over another. i think these are very technical, sober minded, in-depth look at systems, and i think it's a valuable exercise. does: -- host: cybersecurity enter into this? orders that show up? -- or does that show up? guest: cybersecurity is something we, unfortunately, i'll have to contend with now on a serious level. i mentioned the tremendous benefits of the energy transition and the technological innovation. but that innovation comes with a downside risk, and that is that
we are increasingly vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks, and that is something that we at the commission take very seriously. in the past couple of years, we've taken some significant steps to address this. looking at supply chain risks, looking at report of entities, and making sure that attempted intrusions and intrusions are reported to the appropriate bodies. but we can always do more and we have to remain vigilant. we have an office of energy infrastructure at the commission that goes beyond some of the standards that we have in place working with partners. i think standards are very much the floor, not the ceiling of where we need to go to stay ahead of our adversaries. and i think our offices were with our state and federal partners and the regulated community to stay ahead of these evolving threats. there's some other areas that
i've highlighted. for instance, we at the commission have the responsibility to certificate national -- natural gas pipelines, but we don't have authority over that. that falls to the department of homeland security, specifically the tsa, and we've engaged with aggressive dialogue tsa. i've had direct conversations with the ministry or to ensure that -- administrator to ensure they are putting the appropriate focus and seriousness on the threat of a physical or cyberattack on our infrastructure. host: what were the key roles that the federal agency involved in interstate energy commerce is working with states, and that, at times, conflicts, can lead to challenges. in particular, many states have different energy and environmental policies, which
then, when they are applied to the intersect, apply to power markets. for example, capacity markets is one place we can have a conversation. extent,arly pem to some and new york iso, there's been conversations and deliberations around capacity markets, how different electricity power sources compete in those capacity markets. just last week, there was a letter that you received from 10 democratic senators expressing concern about kirk's role in potentially not allowing -- and there are rules around not allowing clean energy sources participate in this markets. they've estimated that they cited estimates there could be several billion dollars a year. the question is, an area of ongoing back-and-forth, give us a sense of his role in ensuring
the integrity of markets, but at the same time accommodating state-level desires. guest: obviously very important and significant question. i have to be very careful in how i answer it. i will be clear that while there has been some speculation about what the ultimate order may look like because of our x partake medication rules, -- communication rules, all of that is speculative. without getting into specifics of the matter before us, the question of this collision between states rights and functioning markets, it's a challenging one. i believe, fundamentally, in states rights and the ability of state and local governments to make decisions about their own energy futures. but i also want these markets to succeed because i believe we are seeing benefits, economically and to consumers, but also to
the environment, from these markets. and we want them to function. when states make public policy decisions regarding their own resource mix, that has implications in other states that may not share those goals, it creates challenges within our markets. but these are not insurmountable challenges. i just want to cite a couple of examples that go outside the matter we had before us. 2018, the england in commission approved an order on a casper case, in which the states came together and worked both independently and collectively to try and see how their myriad state lessees could be -- policies could be supported, but also not disrupt the benefits we're seeing in the
regional market. and ultimately with some conditions, kirk was able to accept this omission from iso new england. and i think that was an example where i really want to applaud the states for the way they engage with stakeholders. they engage with each other, and found a way to try to find that delicate benefit and that market. dish -- in that market. similarly, the core idea behind forming that ein was if you had a greater pool to address demand, ultimately consumers would see the benefit. we're talking about a wide array of states with totally diverse resource portfolios, ranging from high amounts of wind and solar to hydro to coal. and again, the states demonstrated leadership, worked collectively together, and what we're seeing now, we've seen
estimates that the savings to consumers have been upwards of $650 million in the ein. and also towards goals of decarbonization, we've seen a reduction in carbon emissions in the west as a result of the collaboration taking place. that's my long-winded way of saying these are complex challenges when you're dealing with diverse states, with diverse resource mixes, and different governmental dynamics within the. and i think -- within them. and i think it's important in these markets functions we try to adapt market policies. but we have to make sure the markets function. host: one, now there are starting conversations is that certain states or areas that have capacity markets, they infect fact removed that capacity market, just do away with the pasty market, and take the adequacy back to the state
level with the public utility commission. it's basically taking the current conflict and opting out. do you have any thoughts or advice? i guess that's one way to ameliorate the interstate challenge. again, i don't want to get too far ahead of myself and see what may come before us. i will note at least one of my colleagues, so i can cite to him. he's been out there, questioning utility capacity markets and whether -- i'm paraphrasing. i don't know his exact statements. but he's raised this question. i think it's a question that's taking place in some circles whether capacity markets are delivering what was envisioned. i just come back to my belief in markets and how i want these markets to succeed. but we're clearly coming to a point where different states are
taking actions for different reasons. and those are having an impact on markets and that something we're struggling with. host: an issue currently occurring in new york state, with the independent system operator there, is the notion of a carbon at her. -- adder. you can incorporate something incorporates carbon dioxide emissions, and reconcile the desire for clean energy sources, which is currently done through renewable portfolio standards, do that through a more comprehensive carbon adder to help ameliorate some of the challenges that have risen in the capacity markets. do you have a view as how new york states or other states might approach to reconcile clean power sources, doing it in a way that works in a marketplace? do you have views on that? guest: again, i don't want to
speculate on something that could come before the commission. so i can't speak to that. host: ok. so, related to this, talk a little bit about climate change. so you're on the record as expressing serious concern about climate change. give us a sense of value view ferc's role in that. guest: i think at the commission, we are not an environmental regulator. we're a market regulator. in my view, as somebody concerned about climate change and believes we need to mitigate admissions, -- emissions, i believe market-based solutions are the key to achieving those carbon reductions. and i think that is borne out by the evidence we seen, where in our power markets -- we just look to the state of our power markets. federal cap entry was never passed -- antitrade was never
passed -- cap and trade was never passed through congress. the clean power act was state through the courts. administration pulled the u.s. out of paris climate accords. and yet, we see power sector carbon emissions are on the decline. and i think that is the result not of government policies, but of market forces, consumer demands, and market efficiencies. sayingen out there there's a real business case to be made for renewable energy. and i think that renewable energy, as advocates have long touted, is at a point now where it is competitive on its own. renewables are competitive on their own, without the necessary backing of government subsidies or government policies. and i think when you look at markets, and over the course of time you have one source of
generation that has no fuel cost, they're going to win out over an alternative that has a fuel cost. to answer your question, the rule that for employee is in creating -- that ferc can play is creating these new technologies to flourish by breaking down areas to entry for those technologies. one of the measures that we moved through the commercial -- commission in the past year is rule 841, regarding battery storage. and removing barriers to entry and competition for storage resources so that they can be compensated for all of the attributes that they provide to the system. and i think we may look back five years from now, 10 years from now, and that might be a seminal moment in our course to mitigate carbon emissions. i think storage technology has the capacity to fundamentally alter the landscape and could
answer the key reliability questions surrounding the intermittency of renewables. enablingnk that order storage resources to compete was the perfect example of how a market regulator like ferc can play a role in mitigating carbon emissions. rule we are have a working on that would look at distributed energy resources, similarly removing obstacles to competition to ensure the aggregated der's could be compensated for their attributes. and i think those types of market-based approaches to allowing new technologies to , how were, in my view can play a significant role in mitigating carbon emissions. the other piece of this, which we cannot disregard, we have seen firsthand in the u.s. power
sector have the increased deployment of gas and renewables has replaced other more carbon intensive sources of fuel that has led to a reduction in carbon emissions in the power sector. to china andobally india and their long-term stillng, as of today, is dependent on carbon intensive fuels. and i think when it comes to u.s. production, if you look at the way our environmental and energy regulatory landscape, we do it cleaner than anybody in the world. and it plays a role in export facilities, and i truly believe in this u.s., being arena, a net energy exporter for the first time in almost six has not just
positive economic benefits or geopolitical implications, but a positive environment as well. if they can replace more carbon intensive fuel, that will have a positive effect on limiting carbon emissions. i think i'm proud of the role that this commission can play in those areas to combat climate change. host: let me follow up a bit on natural gas, particularly natural gas pipelines. iran the record saying timelines for delivering pipelines is taking too long. in 2017, ferc announced a review on its policies. can you update us on the status of that, those deliberations? guest: yeah, so we commenced a review the way we go about evaluating our certificate applications before the commission. and i zeroed in on some of the
concerns expressed by landowners. i was very sympathetic to the plight of landowners as a met with bank holders about the challenges they see in our process. i am hopeful that in undergoing this review, we can take some significant steps to alleviate the concerns specifically expressed by landowners. i think it is incumbent upon the commission, as well as project sponsors, to ensure greater transparency and can indication with landowners so they know -- communication with landowners so they know what their rights and abilities are. they know what going on. it is not the landowners obligation or responsibility to track ferc documents. i think the commission needs to do a better job of communicating with parties as to the status and timelines of these proceedings, and i think there are steps we can take logistically, internally, but also within the processes that
can help landowners. and then i thing also there are other elements of the process that we need to take a look at. in which a recent case -- in the d.c. circuit in which it was upheld. that's something i'm sensitive to and i hope to be able to work with my colleagues and staff to see if there are ways to address those considerations. host: either on gas or more broadly, do you see a role for congress? are there things congress needs to act on that impede, constrain, or give too much power to ferc? guest: yeah, look, this is something i've really been vocal about.
i'm somebody who spent the talk of my career in the legislative branch prior to coming to this independent agency. i'm a big believer in the legislative branch and in congress is role in setting the -- congress' role in setting the policy. last significant piece of federal energy legislation passed by congress and signed into law. since then, almost every energy policy, legislative action, has toe in the form of a rider an appropriations bill or a tax code. and the result of that is suddenly, some of the pivotal decisions about our energy future are falling to agencies like the ferc, where we're constrained by the statute of governance. we don't have the tools that congress has to make these critical policy decisions. e the temporary b
beneficiary of that because i'm currently sitting in one of the seats, i don't think that's good for the country and i would very much like to see congress take a leadership role in some of these areas because congress has the tools to effectuate the necessary direction that the country should go. and then it should be up to agencies like the ferc to implement that direction. but we ought not be setting national energy policy at an independent regulatory agency. host: connecting a couple of the issues that have come up, one, the role of state policy and affecting power markets and energy infrastructure, and then ferc's role. to what extent do you see state policies related to climate change to factor into for's consideration -- first consideration -- ferc's consideration? guest: i mentioned earlier i believe in states rights but i
want the market to function in where certain states are taking action, whether it be for nuclear regeneration, renewable targets and the like. to the extent that's having implications on the market, that's a challenging issue for the commission. when it comes to the approval of natural gas pipelines, to me, we are having some disagreements at the commission about the level of ghc analysis that the commission needs to do. but the considerations that we take into effect applying, reviewing a project applications, are based on our interpretation of the natural gas act of the law. and the disagreements that we're having learned over environment andes or climate change, what is appropriate within the jurisdiction under section three and sexual seven of the natural
gas act -- section seven of the natural gas act. to answer your question, as somebody who believes in climate intoe, that doesn't factor my evaluation of a pipeline certificate evacuation. i'm basing it on the natural gas act. to your earlier question, if the commission were to take a different direction in how we evaluated the climate impacts of the pipelines that we evaluate, that directive would need to come from congress. i don't believe it is within our statutory purview to take that expensive you ourselves -- view ourselves. as anturning to for organization -- ferc as an organization, there's been speculation about how this might affect decision-making at ferc. there's a majority of two republican appointed
commissioners, yourself included, and one democrat. there's a clear majority and the ability to take action, maybe more quickly. but there's a question about what the indentions might be and whether the -- intentions might be and whether that would be good for ferc. should ferc feel constrained in any way because it would be important for big decisions, for example, to have five appointees? how do you think about that? and how should we think about what the future might look like? guest: sure. obviously, we need a minimum of three members to constitute a quorum. we dropped down to one in 2017 and lost a quorum for seven months, but we can function with three. i, like the commissioner, cringe at the notion. and she has said it in numerous interviews that when she first came to the commission, nobody partnering with
mark spitzer on order. they were just commissioners. and it's unfortunate that i think there is this sense of politicization at the agency. you know, i point to the fact that unfortunately, when the late chairman mcintyre became too ill to continue as chair in october of 2018, i took over the commission and because he wasn't well enough, had stopped devoting at that time. -- stopped voting at that time. for the past several months, every single order of the commissioner issued, by its nature, has been bipartisan because we been 2-2 for the last year. we pushed back on the idea that the commissioner's work has been political when everything we've done required bipartisan cooperation. we had different coalitions.
commissioner lafleur partnered with myself and commissioner mcnamee on project issues. i mentioned order 841 on battery storage. i voted that with commissioners glick and lafleur and mcnamee dissented. so, i'm confident that we can continue our work and i don't think folks should lean into two one votes as being inherent politicization of the agency. i do think, as you can see from some of the separate statements that have been issued by my colleague, there are some real differences in interpretation of the law amongst my colleagues and i do expect some of those differences to player. -- play out. one of the things i bemoaned about losing commissioner lafleur is again, she was somebody that was willing to negotiate and compromise and
work deals with us. and my fear is without her there, if we follow on 2-1 divide, the simple narrative will be ferc being political again. i think for the regulatory community, for consumers, for stakeholders, for me, the ultimate arbiter of our work would be the courts and whether our orders are legally durable or not. and that's my focus. my focus is on securing votes on orders that can be passed by the commission that will withstand legal scrutiny. and if there is order that goes out on a 2-1 basis, i have said before and i will say again, a dissenting commissioner makes our orders stronger because we have to anticipate, and counter the arguments made in that dissenting opinion in the underlying order. and i think, in my view, my hope, gives greater strength to the order the commission puts out.
that's how i'll order the success or failure on the commission is are we producing legally durable orders that withstand judicial scrutiny? host: your view on the speed in which congress appointed the two additional ferc commissioners. guest: having gone through the confirmation process myself, i understand it takes a long time. we've got so much important work before us that of course, we welcome a speedy nomination confirmation process. but we've got so much on our plate that we've got three members who are capable of voting who are going to tackle these issues. we've still got an incredible team at the commission that provides substantive counsel, legal counsel, historical precedents, and i'm confident we can address these challenging questions that we have before us
with the constitutional commissioners we have right now. host: so, ferc's a pretty technical agency. you deal with knotty issues. how do you deal with the bull of public and does that matter? guest: i think it matters. i think it's important because i myself, even when first coming to washington and working on energy and electricity policy, probably didn't appreciate the significance of electricity writ large. it's something that we are so blessed that we take it for granted. and so i think ferc has always been a significant agency. , flew under the radar and wasn't as much in the public eye in the public's attention. over the last decade or so, for various factors, ferc's profile has been enhanced.
and i think there's a lot more attention and scrutiny paid to the work that the commission does. i don't know that the work we do today is any more consequential than it was a decade ago, but there's a lot more attention paid to it. some of it comes from the fact that as we spoke earlier, in the absence of major federal gestation, key decisions -- legislation, key decisions are being made and that brings attention. but i also think energy issues, writ large, are far more on the focus of the public. when i first came to washington, i don't think this is a negative comment, energy policy is boring. you don't read about energy policy and major publications. if you were on the commission, you didn't often go to the house or senate floor to make speeches about nuanced, technical engineering points regarding
energy policy. i think as issues around climate and carbon mitigation in the energy transition have risen in the public's profile, that in turn has raised visibility of the commission. but that's why i think it's so important to have forms like this. because ferc's work is so technical, because it limits our ability to communicate with stakeholders, when there are opportunities for members of the commission and staff to kind of communicate with the public about the key matters before us, i think that's a benefit to everyone. it's something that i have tried to do and i know my colleagues have, as well, because i think it is important we have the utmost transparency and the public be aware of the important decisions we have to make. host: earlier you touched on what ferc has in enabling new
technologies to succeed, by bringing down barriers i think is the language you used. are there other ways at ferc that new technological innovations interact with ferc's work? is there another type of --lysis and liberations? deliberations? zero fuele, low cost, power sources that have close to zero marginal production. that challenges the way markets operated, which has been set by fuel cost. and that's not accommodating that and helping markets to adjust to that technology. it's beyond opening, preventing barriers. there's other challenges. how does that enter into ferc's work and is there a role to be attentive to those shifts? demand is another one brought up. it's been enabled through data,
information technology, and other mechanisms, now the ability to accommodate into the marketplace more readily. guest: i think there's no doubt in addition to breaking down barriers to access for new markets are, the constantly adapting and making interim changes. we have been for two decades now and i expect that to continue because as that innovation continues and drives changes in the marketplace, it's incumbent upon the market regulator to stay on those changes and i think we do a pretty good job at the commission of not just reacting to market changes, but also looking forward, we have an office of energy policy innovation that looks down the horizon. i give a lot of credit to former chairman bay and that office for initiating what was that storage
rulemaking. where wenk we'l see proceed on those resources and other necessary proceedings as what i expect to be continual innovation. that's one of the things why i'm such a big believer in these markets and what the markets to sit want the markets to succeed -- want the markets to succeed. new sources of power, storage. competition drives innovation. it drives cost discipline. and that's where i think successful markets will continue to drive innovation that will ultimately yield benefits to consumers, the economy, and the environment, and i believe will help us achieve our goals of mitigating carbon emissions. host: i'm going to open it up to
audience questions in a minute. i have one final question. when you look on your work as commissioner, how are you going to view success? guest: i think if i can look back and say that under my leadership, we have a regulatory ecosystem in place that is enabling new technologies to flourish, that we are broadening participation in our markets to innovation, and that we've done so in a way that's maintained market efficiencies while reducing carbon emissions, i'd be proud of my tenure. host: thank you. all right, questions. we have some microphones here. we've got one right up front here. gentlemen in the richard -- gentlemen in the redshirt. please say your name and your affiliation. >> my name is alan and i a
retired meteorologist with no other job right now. i don't work for any organization. i just come here out of interest in our ff's programs. i don't know much about your commission. i don't know -- i now know there are five members on it. i don't know the limits of your authority. if for example, you decided a new technology was ripe enough to replace natural gas in our energy provision resources, can you actually make that happen? can you require that planes convert to a renewable energy source? and if so, what authority to the plants have to comply with your order? guest: so it's a great question. we were created in 1978 and are governed by the federal power act and the natural gas act.
and i believe our foremost responsibility is to ensure the reliability of the electric grid, to make sure that when you hit the switch, the lights come on. we are a technology neutral, fuel neutral agency. we do not favor one fuel source over another. but to address your hypothetical, the role that we would play if there was a technology that could replace natural gas, as you state, our role would be to ensure one, that the market structures allow that technology to compete and be compensated if it's warranted, if there weren't artificial barriers can -- precluding that. but the most important thing we would need to do is ensure that liability of the grid wasn't impacted by that new technology. >> [indiscernible]
one follow-up question. source decided to ignore your authority and continued to use the fuel that you didn't think was appropriate to use for liability, what authority you have to force them to live by them? guest: to be totally clear, we don't have any authority to make determinations about what fuel source a generator can or cannot use. we just have to ensure that the liability of the grid is maintained. host: question over here. yes? >> hello, i'm with you to thoroughly desk. just a quick -- utility desk. just a quick question. haveyou mention renewables is this sense on their own without government subsidies or government policies? guest: that's a great question.
pro part is a law that was passed in the late 1970's. it wasginal idea behind a concern during the carter administration about constraints on natural gas supply and to push for innovation and access to renewable sources and energy. the energy markets and energy world today is totally different. it's changed exponentially since the 1970's and i think it's time to modernize it and bring it into that when he first century. -- 21st century. i think major changes need to come from congress, but there are things we can do within our regulations to make improvements to better align it with the realities of today's market. and i stand by what i said earlier.
i think there's a weird business case to be made for renewables. that's not just something that i'm speaking of my own opinion. i think brooke's staff has done analysis and are very forward leaning on future prospects for renewables. i know i've talked to myriad folks who believe there's a strong future for renewables. and i think renewables are at a place where they can stand on their own and compete without government subsidies and policies. and i think that's an exciting thing for markets and for innovation. make toeforms that we modernize it, in my view, should not, would not have a detrimental effect on renewables because i think renewables can compete on their own. host: right behind you. yeah,ere you go -- there you go.
>> i'm a graduate student at the university of chicago. has ferc started thinking about the great as trying to reduce barriers -- grid as trying to reduce barriers? or does it come under the same regulation as battery storage? and how is it thinking different about [indiscernible] guest: thank you for the question. it's a little bit outside our purview, but i will say that the idea of increased electrification of vehicles and how that will play into the grid, obviously we would need to look at it from a demand-side, liability side. but there are other questions that a lot of us haven't given consideration to that are coming up that i think are fascinating. groupample, i met with a
of retailers, petroleum retailers, who consumers were demanding that they include vehicle charging stations at their facilities. so they were incurring the costs of not only retrofitting their facilities to include charging stations, but they were also observing the power costs when consumers came in and plugged in their vehicles. and one of the things that at the state level and some at the federal level wanted to look into is could they charge consumers for plugging in their vehicle? because right now, someone comes in, they plug in their vehicle, they go into the store, buy a bag of chips, they come out and drive off, and the retailer doesn't believe it's a fair bargain if you're filling up your gas tank, you know exactly how much you're paying for a gallon of gas. you're not incurring costs for charging your vehicle. it seems like an innocuous and
easy problem to solve, but it turns out if in fact that retailer was to engage in the resale of the sale of electricity, that is something that could trigger ferc's jurisdiction. example of as an everything we've been talking about here. the energy transition is offering so much exciting potential. but there are a lot of complex, legal, and policy questions that come with that transition, and this is just one example of where we're moving toward greater deployment of electric vehicles, and we need to start having more conversations between the vehicle sector, the retail sector, the electric sector, and regulators to make sure we're coordinated. thank you for the question. host: right here. >> thank you. i'm barbara at the electric research institute. thank you for your remarks here
today. i'm curious to know more about your views regarding -- regarding climate change mitigation and how your views and thoughts on that work with dealing with other parts of the administration. guest: so again, i think from my view, i believe in climate change being man-made and our need to mitigate emissions. policyat i've seen, the under the administration, the president's been in office for two and a half years now and power sector emissions are on the decline. and i think the role that lng exports, market efficiencies in the power sector, increased deployment of renewables and innovative technologies are all having a positive effect on mitigating carbon emissions. when i fed -- when i've had conversations with peers in
congress, i discussed my views in climate change in terms of making a positive case for lng exports on mitigating carbon, making a case for nuclear power as ever greatest source of carbon free baseload. these are all well-received ideas from my peers in washington and around the country. host: one in the middle here, stephanie. thanks, richard. thanks. this is a great form. i'm wondering if you could talk about ferc's recent decision to approve the pipeline in new york state. the state was trying to block that approval using section 403 water permit issues. the decision was unanimous, i thing informed by court order. but i would love to hear your thoughts on that and what that means for the future of constitution or whether that's presidential for other states.
guest: obviously, i can't speak to specific merits, but i can say in the right of -- in arriving at the unanimous decision we did, we based it on the court's holding and i'm reluctant to speak beyond that because of the implications for that and other matters. host: question here in the front. this gentleman. hi, tom with steel and m ining. hardball for the chairman, who i've known for a long time. not a hardball. your serving in a fairly polarizing moment in american history. and as you mentioned, climate is one of the biggest issues we're all debating. can you speak, particularly for people younger than me, about the value of public service and your work in the commission? is it worth it? [laughter] service isink public
so important and, you know, i commend everyone, yourself from our prior days, working together in the senate, to those who work across government at the state level, at the federal level. but also, the stakeholders, who advocate for physicians, whether promoting ash positions -- positions, whether promoting technologies, advocating for consumers. i think it's all part of the dialogue and what makes our democracy function. i can say for the staff at the commission, for the members who have served with on the commission, both past and present, they're all genuine public servants. i don't think folks come in with an agenda. they may come in with a worldview, philosophical, legal
or otherwise, but i don't think they come in with an agenda. i think they genuinely hope to do good. think, what i i am motivated by, there's a couple -- i'm currently serving as chairman of the commission. not by choice, but by serpas -- circumstance. my predecessor, the late chairman kevin mcintyre, passed away. but he was really a role model, and example to me of what a public servant should be. about the public interest and every day woke up wanting to do what was right by the public interest. of the ideasany that we are currently addressing are things he put into motion. on the if we can execute
vision that he laid out, that we'll not just secure his legacy, it will benefit because i think he truly example five and personifies what main to be a public -- exemplifies and personifies what it meant to be a public servant. when i think of the late chairman, he was 57 years old. it was a partner at a law firm for two tickets. he didn't need to do a job. he chose to step forward and do it because he wanted to do good. he wanted to do right by his country. i think he was a patriot. and i just hope i can follow in his footsteps and others. and i will say, until my time in congress as well, there's a period of time we worked on the same side of the aisle. there was a period where we
worked on different sides of the aisle, yet we came together on numerous instances during our joint tenure in the senate because you advising your principal, and i advising my own, or trying to do what was right for the country and the constituencies represented. and so thank you for your prior public service and i think is somebody with three young kids today, i hope that my service inspires them to similarly serve their country in some form. host: if you could hand the microphone right here, yeah, this gentleman. hill.e is terry there are a lot of houses out there. what role do you see for buildings. particularly, you mentioned word aggregation. what about aggregation in the city? purviewis outside of my
and expertise. i am reluctant to comment, other than to say energy efficiency and the like and construction will have a positive impact, but i cannot speak to that level of specificity. >> we have time for one last question, and it will blow to clint vence -- it will go to clint vence. andhank you, richard, thanks for the interview today. if you were making suggestions to congress as to areas that might either enhance your jurisdiction or clarified, especially in state and federal jurisdictions or unclear issues, what would you suggest? >> i have a simple suggestion,
and i am not saying this to be funny. i think the solution to all of this is to make energy policy boring again. boring and policy is we leave it to the engeers and lawyers, we can get positive things done for the good and for the country. it wasn't so long ago that energy policy was quite boring. when i first came to congress, the senate energy and natural bothrces committee, senators from new mexico, they would hand the gavels back and forth to each other, republican and my credit. we got -- democrat. we got the policy past because it was so boring. if we can go back to that, we can get positive things done for the country. so i are reaching 1:00, want to thank you all for
participating in this. this is exactly the kind of conversation we like to have in the future, hopefully leading us to more positive and a healthy environment and a thriving economy. for those of you following us online, this has been cast and you can view this afterword as well online. andcan also go to rff.org sign up, subscribe to our content. finally, i want to thank you, chairman chatterjee, for your service and this conversation. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [indiscernible conversations]
washingtonc-span's journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, we will preview today's new hampshire party convention and the presidential race with raymond buckley, and also with concord monitor political reporter paul steinhauser. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern this morning. be sure to connect with us during the program with your phone calls and facebook questions, and starting with our texting future. announcer: the heritage foundation hosted a discussion with retired lieutenant general thomas spoehr and his plans for modernizing the army. this is just over an hour.