Senate confirms FERC member

“We face many challenges as we chart the course for America’s energy future,” Norris added. “The FERC will play a critical role in meeting those challenges, including minimizing the impact changes will have on consumers, ensuring adequate investment in upgrading and building new infrastructure and meeting our nation’s goals for reducing CO2 emissions.”

Norris will have plenty on his plate when he arrives at FERC. The agency will play a major role in efforts to increase transmission capacity to make the system more reliable and integrate more renewable energy onto the grid.

Also, the big energy and climate bill the House approved in June would give FERC expanded authority to site transmission lines, as would legislation approved that month by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Wait, there’s more: The House bill and the Senate energy committee plan would both establish a nationwide renewable electricity standard regulated by FERC. The standard requires many utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind, solar and biomass energy.

The bills also expand FERC’s authority to police energy markets.