More FERC Uproar: Nominee for Chairman Stirs Controversy

on September 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Open Pit Coal Mines To Become Lake District Tourist Paradise

Quick Take: In July I alerted you that the nominee to replace Jon Wellinghoff as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Ron Binz, was likely to be good for smart grid and renewables but tough on coal.

Now we’re learning that his nomination has “generated unprecedented interest and controversy” according to Brent Franzel of Cardinal Point Partners writing in the Black & Veatch blog. Use the Comment form to express your opinion of Binz.– By Jesse Berst

Ron Binz is the former chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. his nomination as FERC chairman has brought out vocal supporters and detractors. For instance, the normally conservative Forbes magazine ran a blog post titled, “Why Ron Binz Is a Good Choice for Running FERC.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has run two editorials charging that Binz is a radical who will oppose the use of coal and natural gas for power generation. One of them, titled “The Friends of Ron Binz,” uses sarcasm and mean-spirited language to accuse him of being in the pocket of “activists and crony capitalists.”

When I read Binz’s remarks on natural gas, they seemed quite reasonable. He pointed out that natural gas was a bridge strategy – that by 2035 or so we’d need to wean ourselves away. That’s radical? To suggest that we might want to gradually increase our use of renewables over the next 20+ years? The Comment form awaits your viewpoint.

Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.