“Right now, ain’t nobody knows nothing” was the observation of one attendee at this week’s annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in La Quinta, CA, according to an article posted November 16 on the Utility Dive website. The observer, a former chair of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, said: “There’s rank speculation going on . . . but nothing has settled” regarding energy policy directions for the new Trump administration. The article states:
Along with the widely-held views that the Clean Power Plan will be scrapped and renewables growth will continue, sector leaders expect a friendlier policy environment for the natural gas industry. That could allow utilities to burn more gas for generation, putting the global climate at risk and potentially exacerbating existing issues with baseload generation in organized markets.
Regarding pipelines, the Utility Dive piece reports:
Throughout the Obama administration, pipeline firms expressed frustration with what they saw as an ad-hoc approach to regulating gas and oil infrastructure. While some projects would receive little national attention, others — like the Keystone XL or Dakota Access pipelines — would attract protest attention from environmentalists, sometimes enticing Obama to intervene.
Gas insiders at NARUC said they don’t expect environmentalists to have the ear of the new administration or its appointees, so siting and constructing pipelines could get easier.
“Going up to two or three weeks ago, you had a lot of analysts expecting that we were never going to build another interstate pipeline again,” said Christopher Guith, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s energy policy shop. “We’re in a whole new world now.”
After Trump’s election, environmental groups promised to double down on their activism, but officials at NARUC expected the new administration to take the wind out of their sails.