As Robert Powelson's tenure at FERC enters its final hours, rumors are circulating about a possible replacement, with Bernard McNamee, executive director of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Policy, topping the list.
The White House may already have selected McNamee, based largely on his support for DOE's failed notice of proposed rulemaking to change the nation's grid reliability and resilience policies, sources told Politico. McNamee previously worked at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.
There's been no official word from the White House about a possible nominee to fill the fifth seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Powelson has said Friday will be his last day on the job at FERC before moving on to become president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies.
Powelson is one of three Republicans at FERC, along with Chairman Kevin McIntyre and Commissioner Neil Chatterjee. Commissioners Richard Glick and Cheryl LaFleur are Democrats.
His departure may hinder projects going forward. In recent months, the Commission has frequently split votes on some pipeline certificates, with three Republicans on one side of issues and two Democrats on the other. Without Powelson, and without a replacement in sight, there is the threat of tie votes, and/or the Chairman could choose not to put major projects on the docket at all.