FERC Discusses Energy Markets during CEA Tele-Town Hall

Commissioner Bernard McNamee of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, May 5 joined the Consumer Energy Alliance to provide an update on U.S. energy markets, especially as it relates to consumer impacts and ongoing development, during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online forum was part of a regular series that CEA, a longtime member of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, is providing to keep members updated about energy policy. FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil, while also reviewing proposals to build liquefied natural gas terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines.

McNamee emphasized the work FERC is doing to ensure cyber and fiscal security issues, and stressed the commission is paying attention to the challenges of today to ensure grids operate seamlessly and pipelines function safely. But, he also made clear that the agency is focused on the future. That means continued access to abundant, affordable energy sources — and America is primed for continued growth because of a renaissance that has turned the United States into a net exporter of oil and natural gas.

FERC approves the siting of interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities that have helped to increase American energy security and turn it into an energy leader. Pipelines are essential to getting those resources to market.

“The access to relatively cheap and abundant oil and natural gas has really helped to fuel the growth that had been taking place in this country and, I believe, will continue to take place (as we get through this pandemic),” McNamee said.

High natural gas prices, for example, made electricity more expensive for consumers and more challenging for domestic manufacturers. But the equation has changed in part because of production from shale fields like the Marcellus and Utica formations in the Appalachian region, which includes Pennsylvania.

These resources also provide new tools for federal lawmakers to drive national and international energy policy, which makes America stronger, creating opportunities around the world as countries seek the stability of the United States as an energy partner.

As a bonus: Delivering that fuel means billions in investment and thousands of new jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country.