What's the FERC, and How Is It Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 1)

What's the FERC, and How Is It Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 1)

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FERC headquarters
April 30, 2019

Former FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable explains the work of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and its often contentious role in shaping the future of U.S. electricity and natural gas systems.

Fundamental changes are taking place across the U.S. energy landscape.  The growth of shale natural gas has changed the mix of fuels used to generate the nation’s electricity, with natural gas surpassingcoal as the fuel of choice.  At the same time, growing concern over climate change has incentivized the development of clean energy technologies and further altered the nation’s energy mix.

Yet rapid change has brought conflict, particularly between the states and the federal government over their respective roles in defining the future of our energy system.  In the electricity sector, state efforts to support renewable and nuclear power threaten the integrity of electricity markets and federal authority to shape them.  In the gas industry, federal regulators have approved a web of new pipelines to transport shale natural gas around the country, only to see some projects stall over state environmental and climate concerns.

Former FERC commissioner Colette Honorable discusses the government agency that finds itself at the center of many of today’s most critical energy debates.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as the FERC, is charged with regulating the interstate commerce of natural gas and electricity.  Its role extends from oversight of wholesale electricity markets to environmental review of natural gas pipelines. 

This episode covers FERC, its history and mandate. The May 15, 2019 episode will take a closer look at the key debates now embroiling the Commission.

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