Dear Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso,
America depends on affordable, reliable, secure, and increasingly, clean electricity. Over the past twenty years, competitive wholesale electricity markets overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have delivered high reliability at an affordable cost, a win-win for consumers. At a time when grid reliability is increasingly challenged by more frequent and extreme weather events, we must double-down on our commitment to competitive wholesale electricity markets to yield the most efficient reliability outcomes for American families and businesses.
As you know, Commissioner Chatterjee’s term expired yesterday, potentially bringing FERC down to four commissioners, presenting an opportunity for President Biden to name his replacement—and the President’s first FERC nominee. As such, we urge you to ensure that the next nominee to FERC maintain a commitment to competitive wholesale electricity markets in order to ensure America’s electric grid remains reliable, affordable, clean, and secure.
FERC is dealing with many critical issues within its jurisdiction—from permitting energy infrastructure projects to dealing with an ever-evolving cybersecurity threat landscape—all at a time of unprecedented change in the composition and operation of the electric grid. We believe competitive wholesale electricity markets will facilitate this change while ensuring consumers still receive highly reliable and affordable electricity. Indeed, just last month, nine former FERC commissioners and chairs wrote that “as we seek infrastructure resilience in all sectors of the economy, we note that organized markets…are critical.”
The reliability of the electric grid is essential to the American way of life, and it is incumbent upon FERC to ensure the grid remains reliable. We know you have a tremendous responsibility in this regard and take your role very seriously. We are confident that your careful attention to the next candidate will help to ensure that FERC is able to do its work but retain its focus on job number one – system reliability. As the grid decarbonizes, this will require new approaches to ensure markets are responsive, well-designed, and the bedrock of our approach to decarbonizing the electricity system. Competitive wholesale electricity markets are the tool to ensure that job is done in an affordable and efficient manner.
We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to your work in helping to vet the next commissioner. We would be happy to sit down to discuss the important role of wholesale markets in the grid of the 21st Century at your convenience.
Electric Power Supply Association, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, and R Street Institute