The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) said Tuesday it is bringing to a close its National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) and replacing it with another project in 2011 that will accommodate the new energy realities in Washington, DC.

“We had a great run,” said Jason S. Grumet, president of the BPC, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that was established in 2007 by a group of former senators. “The 2010 energy debate demonstrated the nation’s changing politics and priorities.”

And with Republicans assuming the majority in the House and a greater toehold in the Senate in the 112th Congress, “there’s a sense that we’re entering a new era on energy policy in a new political period and [it] made sense” to launch a new energy project, said BPC spokesman Paul Bledsoe.

Natural gas had a central role in the energy policy developed by the NCEP, which was founded in 2002, and this will continue in the new energy effort, he told NGI. When Congress debated the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the NCEP called on it to clarify the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to site onshore liquefied natural gas facilities; to direct the federal government to conduct an inventory of offshore oil and natural gas resources; and to expedite permitting and leasing on public lands.

The commission’s “work was important even if not all of its recommendations carried the day,” said NCEP Co-Chair and Exelon Corp. Chairman John W. Rowe.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the ranking Republican on the panel, sent a letter recently touting the work of the NCEP.

“NCEP’s leadership bringing together a bipartisan and institutionally diverse group to develop and advocate detailed policy recommendations has been of great relevance to this committee,” Bingaman and Murkowski wrote. “Many of NCEP’s ideas were influential during the development of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. We hope that this new project will continue the tradition of constructive bipartisan dialogue.”

“More than anything else, NCEP proved that leaders with widely varying interests and politics could nonetheless accept a shared set of facts and goals on the toughest energy issues, and generate detailed and constructive proposals based on consensus and mutual respect,” said NCEP Co-Chair Susan F. Tierney, also managing principal of the Analysis Group.

The BPC said it will continue to oversee existing energy-related task forces that will issue reports, make policy recommendations and meet with stakeholders and policymakers. The task forces will address five key areas: ensuring stable natural gas markets; the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemakings on electric power sector reliability; future U.S. energy jobs; clean energy finance; and geoengineering, the center said.

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