Biden’s Top Energy Regulator Lobbied for Avangrid, Company Behind Admin-Approved Wind Farm

FERC chair Richard Glick now working to aid Biden's green energy push

Collin Anderson and Joseph Simonson • May 24, 2021 5:00 am

President Joe Biden's pick to lead a major federal energy agency spent years lobbying for the renewable power giant behind an offshore wind farm backed by the administration, a Washington Free Beacon review of disclosure forms found.

Shortly after his inauguration, Biden tapped Richard Glick to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. From 2001 to 2016, Glick served as head lobbyist for Avangrid Renewables, the U.S. subsidiary of Spanish electric conglomerate Iberdrola. The company holds a 50 percent stake in Vineyard Wind, which is set to become the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm after the Biden administration approved the project on May 11.

Glick's elevation to chairman comes as a boon to Avangrid and other renewable power companies. The role grants Glick the authority to prioritize environmental projects that bolster the White House's green energy push and potentially enrich his former clients. The commission is also responsible for approving natural gas pipeline permits—a common target of environmentalists. Just weeks into his chairmanship, Glick announced the creation of a senior-level "environmental justice" position to determine if pipeline projects "unfairly impact historically marginalized communities."

The "environmental justice" metric has generated backlash from Congress amid rising gas prices. A bipartisan group of 25 senators in April called on Glick to ignore any "newly contemplated considerations" and "take timely action" on the 14 pipeline projects pending before the commission. 

"These projects represent substantial private sector investment in our nation's economy and our workforce," the letter reads. "Delaying and moving the regulatory goalposts on projects filed in good faith is contrary to the otherwise equitable application of the Policy Statement that all stakeholders expect." 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did not return a request for comment.

Glick is not the only top environmental official with ties to a green energy company championed by the Biden administration. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm holds up to a $5 million stake in Proterra, an electric bus manufacturer that Biden has promoted on multiple occasions. A slew of Biden's top donors also have sizable investments in the company, and Proterra recently turned to a pair of Obama administration alums to lobby the White House for funding.

In addition to Glick, deputy interior secretary nominee Tommy Beaudreau represented Vineyard Wind as a corporate attorney. Under federal ethics rules, Beaudreau is barred from participating in any "particular matter" involving his former clients for two years. The Biden appointee can, however, assert himself into deliberations pertaining to the wind industry as a whole.

Beaudreau's financial disclosure forms reveal long ties to the industry. Over the course of his time in the private sector, Beaudreau represented 10 of the 14 companies with active wind farm proposals before the department.

Avangrid spent about $6 million on its lobbying operation under Glick's direction, disclosures show. Glick transitioned back to the public sector in 2017, following a brief stint working for the Senate where he advised Democrats on renewable energy.

As a commission member, Glick in 2019 admonished his Republican colleagues for declining to act on an emergency waiver requested by Vineyard Wind. The waiver would have helped the offshore wind farm—located 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard—enter New England's multibillion-dollar electricity market. The commission later approved an agreement between Vineyard Wind and the region's grid operator in October.

A CNN story on Vineyard Wind published Sunday described the project as critical to Biden's pledge of achieving a carbon-free power sector by 2035. 

"The Biden administration has convened an all-of-government approach to offshore wind, which we've never seen before," Avangrid told the outlet.

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Comment by Penny Gray on May 24, 2021 at 6:38pm

Just weeks into his chairmanship, Glick announced the creation of a senior-level "environmental justice" position to determine if pipeline projects "unfairly impact historically marginalized communities."

Well, we certainly know that wind projects target marginalized rural communities here in Maine.  

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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