Tag Archives: Neil Chatterjee

Powelson leaves FERC with a split board as Sabal Trail loses legal cases 2018-07-02

Just one day before FERC admitted Sierra Club won in D.C. District Court, and a week after Sabal Trail Sabal Trail lost a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District of Georgia in Valdosta,

something else at FERC put pause to further pipeline and LNG export rubberstamps.

Ellen M. Gilmer, Rod Kuckro and Sam Mintz, E&& News, 2 July 2018, Powelson’s departure means fallout for pipelines, policies,

Robert F. Powelson by FERC
Photo: FERC, of Robert F. Powelson, via E&E News

Robert Powelson’s decision to exit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission less than a year into his term could leave natural gas pipeline developers in the lurch and policy critics scrambling for how to approach the commission’s coming 2-2 partisan split.

That’s the consensus among Continue reading

FERC inadvertently clears path for renewable energy via storage 2018-02-15

FERC just let slip the wolves of sun and wind by enabling the storage that those sunny twenty-first-century “aggregated distributed energy resources” (DER) will use to blow down the straw houses of traditional twentieth-century so-called baseload capacity coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson called out the “participation model” Thursday’s twin orders enable, bypassing many traditional charges by accounting for physical characteristics that do not change over time, recognizing that batteries, sun, and wind power are basically different from old-style dinosaur power plants. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee named Senators Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse as proponents of these new rules, which is very interesting since both have long been proponents of renewable energy, and Sen. Whitehouse called out FERC for failing to implement the DC Circuit Court’s Order on greenhouse gases. Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur said “Electric storage is like a ‘Swiss army knife’”. Maybe more like the South Australian storage utility player that has already out-responded natural gas during coal plant outages. Commissioner Richard Glick says sun and wind power “no less than energy storage, have the potential to play a leading role in the electric grid of the future”. None of the Commissioners could bring themselves to say what they all know: sun, wind, water power with storage will be the electric grid of the future. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff and I were right in 2013: solar power will provide more U.S. electricity than any other source by 2023, on the way to complete conversion of everything to sun, wind, water, and storage by 2050.

Frequency response of Tesla South Australian battery
Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy, 23 January 2018, Tesla big battery moves from show-boating to money-making.

Gavin Bade, UtilityDive, Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issues storage, reliability orders, calls conference on aggregated DERs, Continue reading

Same Excuse: FERC rubberstamps PennEast like Sabal Trail 2018-01-19

Precedent agreements for 90+% of the pipeline’s capacity was FERC’s excuse for PennEast yesterday, the same as for Sabal Trail two years ago. Yet Sabal Trail apparently already lost 4/7 of its supposedly solid customer base and is not even shipping any gas. Even a dissenting FERC Commissioner spelled out that such shaky “need” does not justify environmental damage nor invasion of property rights through federal eminent domain. Sure, Commissioner LaFleur, we should trust PennEast with the Delaware River like FERC told us to trust Sabal “Sinkhole” Trail about the Suwannee River?

FERC Commissioner Richard Glick On New Year’s Day Sabal Trail removed Duke Energy Florida (DEF) from its customer index. On November 14, 2017, Sabal Trail’s gas flow dropped to zero, and Sabal Trail increased its Uncommitted Capacity by 300,000 Dekatherms per day, exactly the same as DEF formerly contracted for, and thirty days after DEF’s initial contract expired. That leaves FPL as Sabal Trail’s only customer, with its 400,000 DTH/day. Four sevenths of of 93% is only about 53%, which is not even the 75% Commissioner Richard Glick also mentioned in in his Friday dissent from the 4:1 FERC rubberstamp of the PennEast pipeline, which also happens to be a feeder for Sabal Trail through Transco. Meanwhile, during freezing weather in Florida, Sabal Trail shipped zero gas for much of November and January (and hardly any in December): how is that need?

Lost Duke Energy Florida, Flow
Lost Duke Energy Florida, Sabal Trail?

No Balance

Commissioner Glick’s opening paragraph also sums up the recent WWALS motion to FERC to reject, shut off, and revoke Sabal Trail: Continue reading

Motion to reject FERC DSEIS, to take Sabal Trail out of service, and to revoke its permit: WWALS to FERC 2017-12-29

reopen the whole basis of the FERC 2016 Order, Filing FERC, if it follows its own rules, should reject the DSEIS, stop Sabal Trail, and revoke its permit, says a motion filed today with FERC by Suwannee Riverkeeper.

Followup blog posts will feature major sections and arguments from these 20 pages with their 93 footnotes. The basic arguments are summarized on the first page:

WWALS argues that no SEIS can be complete without accounting for GHG from Liquid Natural Gas (“LNG”) exports, nor without comparing natural gas to solar power, according to precedents already set by FPL, FERC, and others, which also reopen the whole basis of the FERC 2016 Order.

FERC may not care, but the D.C. Circuit Court may, or candidates for office, or the voting public.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!


Filed with FERC today as Continue reading

FERC Chairman running scared of pipeline opposition

Especially scared of Sierra Club’s DC Circuit Court win against FERC and Sabal Trail. He said the “sea change” in sophistication of the opposition reminded him of the No Nukes movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe he forgets: we won! And solar and wind power are already winning against pipelines.

John Siciliano, 30 November 2017, Washington Examiner, FERC chairman takes a break from discussing coal plan to slam pipeline protesters,

FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee

There has been a “sea change in the identity, volume and goals of stakeholders participating in our proceedings, as well as in the nature and tone of the rhetoric of those who oppose pipeline projects.”

Adding to the national activist groups are the Continue reading

Senate confirmed 2 FERC nominees with no discussion 2017-08-03

The Senate took less than two minutes to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Robert F. Powelson as FERC Commissioners, taking it up even earlier than we suspected. The only voice heard voting was Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that had forwarded their names. It’s not clear any other Senators were even in the room; certainly none spoke up at any point. She praised the new Commissioners and added that they would “help facilitate the buildout of an aging infrastructure and the add-on of new infrastructure”, which of course means more pipeline boondoggles when the country and the world need to get on with sun and wind power.

Reading the nominations

Worse, there are not one but two more FERC nominees in the pipeline, including a proposed Chair very friendly with pipelines and fossil fuels.

CSPAN, Senate Session, August 3, 2017, Continue reading

Call Senators now to stop FERC nominees 2017-08-03

Update 2017-08-03: The Senate already did it. But there are more nominations to oppose and other things you can do.

FERC could suddenly get a quorum. Another FERC nominee went to the Senate Wednesday: no FERC rubberstamp Richard Click, general counsel to the minority party, the Democrats, on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Even the two nominees already forwarded to the full Senate June 6, 2017 if confirmed, added to the one still at FERC, would produce a quorum of 3 out of 5. So please call your Senators now and ask them not to vote to confirm any FERC nominee who does not vow to turn the agency to solar and wind power on a smart grid.

No, this won’t stop or turn off Sabal Trail. But it could stop further pipeline boondoggles from being confirmed. That’s good in itself, and could also erode the credibility of Sabal Trail with its creditors.

Here are telephone numbers for Georgia and Florida Senators, and there’s a script farther down. Continue reading

U.S. Chamber wants FERC nominees approved 2017-05-31

The key phrase is actually exactly why FERC nominees should not be approved: 170531 FERCNominations-PowellChatterjee Murkowski Cantwell-0001

“…but of increasingly vital importance, also oversees the permitting and construction of natural gas pipelines, gas storage projects, and liquefied natural gas terminals.”

Funny how the Chamber didn’t mention fracking or LNG export. We don’t need more pipelines taking people’s property and risking our water and lives for the profit of a few fossil fuel executives cashing out before their industry goes belly-up.

WWALS recommends a swift vote to deny these FERC nominees and any others who do not vow to “to develop the new energy infrastructure necessary to ensure future domestic energy security” by rapidly deploying sun and wind power with no more new pipelines. Please call your Senators or members of that Committee to recommend they get on with real renewable energy, not 20th century fossil fuel stranded assets.

U.S. Chamber letter to U.S. Senate Energy Committee

Continue reading