FERC on Nov. 5 said that President Donald Trump named James Danly as commission chairman, replacing Neil Chatterjee as head of the agency.
Danly has served as a commissioner since March, and prior to that, served as general counsel to the commission since joining FERC in 2017, the commission said; Chatterjee joined FERC in 2017, and served as chairman from August to December 2017, and since October 2018.
Danly said in the statement, in part: “Neil has truly left his mark on FERC and the energy sector by brokering a significant agreement allowing us to move forward with liquefied natural gas terminals, which helped secure our American energy independence. He also made a lasting impact through his commitment to protecting competitive markets, modernizing our policies under PURPA, expediting the approvals of much-needed critical energy infrastructure and so much more. I thank Neil for his leadership, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in this new role.”
Chatterjee said in the statement, in part: “During my tenure, we’ve faced challenges like overcoming the significant no-quorum backlog to grappling with an unprecedented global pandemic. But we’ve had a great many achievements as well, including bringing PURPA regulations in line with today’s realities, building out our energy infrastructure and approving LNG terminals, unleashing the power of new technologies like storage and distributed energy resources, and most recently taking groundbreaking action to consider carbon pricing, just to name a few.”
He continued: “All of these actions have significantly contributed to making American energy more reliable, resilient and accessible for the people we serve. But our work – my work – at the commission isn’t over. I look forward to working with my friend, Chairman Danly, as well as the next Administration to continue to carry out our important mission.”
Chatterjee’s replacement was announced as votes continue to be counted to determine who will be the next president of the United States following the Nov. 3 election.
As noted on FERC’s website, the commission is composed of up to five commissioners who are appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Danly’s term is set to expire on June 30, 2023, while Chatterjee’s term is set to expire on June 30, 2021, according to the site.
The term of FERC Commissioner Richard Glick, who was confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 2, 2017, is set to expire on June 30, 2022, according to the website.
In a Nov. 6 statement, Glick said: “Each FERC commissioner is supposed to vote solely based on their best judgement of the facts and the law, independent from party affiliation or political pressure. Although we haven’t always agreed, I know that Chairman Chatterjee arrived at his views honestly and independently. And I appreciate his willingness to ignore party affiliation and work with me on several key initiatives that will prove beneficial to this nation. I look [forward] to continuing to work with Chairman Chatterjee in the coming months. I also want to congratulate Commissioner Danly – our new chairman. We have worked well together since he became a commissioner earlier this year and I look forward to continuing that cooperation as we move forward.”
Two commissioner spots remain vacant, per FERC’s website.
As TransmissionHub reported, Trump in late July announced his intent to nominate Mark Christie, chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, and Allison Clements, founder and president of Goodgrid, LLC, to be members of FERC, according to a statement from the White House.
As of the time of publication on Nov. 6, the White House website did not have a statement regarding Danly’s new FERC position.
According to a July 29 White House statement, the nominations of Christie and Clements were sent to the Senate.
As noted on the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources’ website, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Sept. 16 chaired a hearing to consider those nominations.
American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) President and CEO Gregory Wetstone, in a Nov. 6 statement, congratulated Danly on his new role, and added that ACORE urges “swift Senate confirmation of both Allison Clements and Mark Christie in order to restore a full, bipartisan complement of five commissioners so FERC can continue its mission of ensuring reliable, efficient and sustainable energy.”
Wetstone also said: “Like many in the energy sector, we were surprised to see the sudden change in leadership at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last night. While we have not always agreed with all of his actions, we’ve appreciated Chairman Chatterjee’s accessibility and willingness to engage with ACORE and our members. FERC Order No. 2222 expanding the role of DERs, the rejection of NERA’s anti-net metering petition, and positive steps on transmission incentive reform and carbon pricing have all been welcome. At the same time, measures like the PJM MOPR and NYISO BSM, which undermine the ability of low-cost renewables to compete fairly in the marketplace, have been deeply disappointing and destructive.”
The Electric Power Research Institute on Twitter congratulated Danly on his new role, as well as Chatterjee “for overseeing some of the biggest developments in the” energy sector.