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Biden Taps Democrat Phillips as Head of FERC Energy Regulator


These translations are done via Google Translate

U.S. President Joe Biden has appointed fellow Democrat Willie Phillips as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, at a time when the usually low-key panel hopes to take on a more prominent role in transforming the U.S. energy system.

The White House made announcement on Friday. Democrats have a 2-1 majority in the commission as the Biden administration pursues its goal to decarbonize the power grid by 2035.

The FERC, an independent panel of the Department of Energy, was mainly known for approving natural gas pipelines and export terminals for liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

But this year it is expected to issue rules that could help expand or upgrade electricity transmission, getting power from wind and solar renewable projects to cities.

“I’m laser focused on securing a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for our nation,” Phillips said in a post on the X social media network. Biden had named Phillips acting FERC chair in January 2023.

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In coming months the FERC may approve Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) LNG terminal in Louisiana, which would be the country’s biggest.

But Biden has paused approvals at the Department of Energy for LNG exports to conduct an economic and environmental review of the booming business. That could leave full federal approval of CP2 in limbo until sometime after the pause is reversed.

Before taking over as acting FERC chair Phillips served as the chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, starting in 2018, where he championed issues of environmental justice and equity.

He was also a regulatory attorney with nearly 20 years in public and private practice.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Timothy Gardner; Writing by Paul Grant; Editing by Jasper Ward and David Ljunggren)



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