Dive Brief:

  • Three Democratic attorneys general wrote to the PJM Interconnection on Friday, asking the grid operator to select a president and CEO who will be an “enthusiastic partner in… efforts to address climate change.”
  • “Our states are leading the way to avoid the worst effects of climate change by transforming the energy sector to promote clean energy and shift away from fossil fuel,” Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in their letter to PJM’s search committee. They asked for the new CEO to have the skills to “support the necessary shift to clean energy.”
  • PJM’s search committee for a new CEO has “committed to an aggressive schedule” to consider external and internal candidates, according to board member and committee chair Neil Smith. Referrals and comments can be submitted for consideration by July 19.

Dive Insight:

As stakeholders prioritize various issues and skills for the new CEO, the letter from the attorneys general serves as further evidence that states are leading a clean energy transition.

Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia specified that state policies are key.

“PJM’s President should also have the economic and policy background to understand that state clean energy preferences are not out-of-market distortions to PJM interstate markets, but instead are important market corrections,” the AGs wrote.

The AG offices were not available to comment on which specific programs and policies the letter was referring to.

The attorneys general also asked that PJM’s future leader “understand and respect states’ essential role and authority under the Federal Power Act in shaping the mix of generation resources.”

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso also wrote the selection committee to ask for a new CEO who will address the “imperatives of climate change.”

“Too often there is a false narrative that PJM’s concerns about reliability and economic efficiency must be pitted against States’ efforts to address global climate change,” he wrote.

PJM deals with a large mix of stakeholders that have continuously butted heads over the need for clean energy subsidies and the grid operator’s various responses to FERC orders, including the energy storage-related Order 841. 

PJM proposed last October to remove subsidized resources from its capacity market and set a strict price floor, or Minimum Offer Price Rule, for unsubsidized resources. Under the proposal, generators with subsidies would operate outside the market. PJM will proceed with its August capacity market auction, despite the delay from FERC in approving new rules for the market, former CEO Andy Ott said this April.

Ott retired from his position as CEO and president at the end of June, and PJM’s fuel mix is almost unrecognizable from when Ott started in 1996. Sue Riley is currently serving as interim CEO.