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National Clean Energy Coalition Says FERC Split Vote a Missed Opportunity

Groups advocated for a more inclusive, transparent, and cost-efficient energy market for the Southeast U.S. region

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2021 — Today, national business associations Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Advanced Energy Buyers Group (AEBG), and Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA) issued the following statement regarding today’s 2-2 split decision by FERC that will allow, by operation of law, a proposal by utilities to form a Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM):

“FERC missed an opportunity to ensure that SEEM is a stepping stone to a competitive wholesale electricity market that delivers substantial benefits to consumers,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE, which manages the AEBG. “The acceptance of SEEM without a FERC order allows the sponsoring utilities to move forward without any Commission direction on how the new platform should be implemented and with no conditions that would improve transparency as to the benefits SEEM will actually deliver in practice. Moreover, FERC appears to have passed on creating a forum to foster discussion with states and stakeholders regarding the future of wholesale power markets in the region. This result could allow utilities in the Southeast to lock in a subpar alternative that will not create meaningful savings for ratepayers and will do little to accelerate the adoption of advanced energy technologies, while allowing those utilities to cement their market dominance in the region.”

“Today’s decision limits the benefits customers in the Southeast would otherwise experience with true market reforms,” said Bryn Baker, Director of Policy at CEBA. “While SEEM may create efficiencies in existing practices, CEBA will continue to advocate for market options and engage with policymakers at the federal and state levels to advance the full scale of potential benefits found within organized wholesale markets. A recent report commissioned by the American Council on Renewable Energy showed an organized wholesale market in the Southeast would generate $119 billion in cumulative customer savings by 2040 compared to SEEM. Customers and businesses in the Southeast have been missing out on the economic benefits of competitive wholesale markets and the cost-effective integration of renewable energy and advanced energy technologies that such a market would facilitate.”

CEBA, AEE and AEBG believe a competitive wholesale electricity marketplace would drive down consumer costs, give consumers more access to low-cost clean energy supplies, and improve reliability and resilience, delivering benefits far greater than those anticipated from SEEM. More broadly, with large corporate customers looking to locate their facilities in states with competitive wholesale market structures that allow them to access clean advanced energy supplies, the region is missing out on an opportunity to create new jobs and economic benefits.

This coalition urges FERC to support discussions for broader wholesale market reform in the Southeast, and in the meantime looks forward to working with states and customers in the region to capture the economic and social benefits of inviting competitive wholesale market structures in their regional electric grids, and using those markets to facilitate the cost-effective adoption of advanced energy technologies. The coalition urges states to carefully consider the benefits of competitive wholesale markets for their customers.

These national associations submitted joint comments earlier this year asking FERC to examine shortcomings in the SEEM proposal and specifically urged FERC to: 

1. Require the utilities to supplement their filing with additional implementation details that are necessary to determine whether SEEM is just and reasonable;
2. Consider modifications to the proposed SEEM design that enhance market and stakeholder protections; and
3. Initiate a joint conference with state regulators and energy officials to convene broader discussions on the future of wholesale markets and transmission integration in the Southeast.

Additional Resources:

Advanced Energy Buyers Group

The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is a business-led coalition of large energy users engaging on policies to expand opportunities to procure energy that is secure, clean, and affordable. Members of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group are leading companies and organizations spanning a range of market sectors, including technology, retail, education, and manufacturing. AE Buyers Group members share a common interest in expanding their use of advanced energy, with the goal of becoming more competitive, resilient, and sustainable enterprises far into the future. The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is convened and facilitated by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association of advanced energy companies.

Advanced Energy Economy

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE is the only industry association in the U.S. that represents the full range of advanced energy technologies and services, both grid-scale and distributed. Advanced energy includes energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, and more. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level, in wholesale power markets, and in more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $240 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.2 million U.S. workers. AEE’s PowerSuite online platform allows users to track regulatory and legislative issues in state legislatures, U.S. Congress, state PUCs, RTOs/ISOs, and FERC. Sign up for a free trial at . Follow us at @AEEnet .

Clean Energy Buyers Association

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance is a national association for large-scale energy buyers seeking to procure renewable energy across the U.S. With more than 250 members from across the commercial and industrial sectors, non-profit organizations, as well as energy providers and service providers, CEBA is working towards the creation of a resilient, zero-carbon energy system. CEBA’s members represent over $6 trillion in annual revenues and over 14 million U.S. employees. CEBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy projects by 2025 and to unlock the energy market for all large-scale energy buyers by creating viable pathways to procurement.