Several weeks before the nation was overrun by COVID-19, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Chairman of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), Neil Chatterjee, at the #ThirdCloudSummit in Washington D.C. FERC plays a substantial role in the energy regulatory space – and with the Summit́s primary focus being the utility industrýs digital transformation (to the cloud) and overall technological innovation for the industry, we asked Neil to provide a brief overview of FERĆs involvement. “A lot of the regulatory policy issues flow through FERC. Our foremost responsibility is to oversee the reliability of the grid and evaluate applications for electricity infrastructure and equity investments in new technology,” Neil said.

What’s the intersection of FERC and technology?

Today, innovation is driving tremendous benefits for consumers, the economy and the environment in the U.S. As such, we asked Neil about FERĆs role in technological innovation.

“Energy transition taking place today is being driven by innovation, ranging from fracking technology to accessing low cost natural gas,” he said. “Innovations abound in the distributed energy space. The cost of distributed resources has come down as new technology has occurred.”

With new technology comes new risk when it comes to cybersecurity. “While I think Americans are the beneficiaries of this tremendous innovation, it does come with risk, like increased vulnerability to cyber attacks,” the Chairman said. “We have to be vigilant in ensuring that wére staying ahead of our adversaries when it comes to cybersecurity.”

Neil is noticing that more and more technology companies are coming into the energy space. “Technology companies are huge users of energy, and I think theýre seeing that, as such significant users of energy, they can influence energy and policy space, like making commitments to ‘footprintś (carbon),” he said. “It́s been exciting to see tech companies come into the space.”

He noted that technology companies are now are now active participants in FERC dockets.

We want to thank the Chairman for joining us at the #ThirdCloudSummit and for sharing these critical insights as the utility industry continues to undergo its digital transformation.

How Has FERC responded to COVID-19?

FERC, like many organizations, has taken a number of steps to protect the health and safety of its employees and the public, and to help mitigate or slow the transmission of the coronavirus within its communities.

“During this challenging time, the health and safety of the American people and the continued reliability of the natiońs energy sector are of crucial importance,” said the Chairman. Chatterjee has directed that the Commission take steps to protect its staff and the public while ensuring continuity of operations.

“All Commissioners and senior agency leaders are in close contact. We, along with the Commissiońs workforce, are committed to continuing to carry out our important work and fulfilling our statutory obligations as seamlessly as possible during this time.”

Stay tuned for clips of this interview on our YouTube channel.

Please visit our website for more recaps and photos of last weeḱs Summit.

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