President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was revealed to have spent years lobbying for the company behind the Biden administration-approved offshore wind farm Vineyard Wind.
From 2001 to 2016, FERC's tapped chair Richard Glick was the head lobbyist for Avangrid Renewables, the United States subsidiary of the Spain-based Iberdrola, which holds a 50 percent stake in Vineyard Wind.
Vineyard Wind is set to become America's first large scale offshore wind farm, located 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, after the Biden administration approved the project on May 11 of this year. The project is described as being critical to Biden's goal of achieving a carbon free power sector by the year 2035.
Glick's elevation to chairman grants him the authority to push environmental projects that aid in the White House's push for green renewable energy, and potentially boosts his former client, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Under Glick's direction, Avangrid spent around $6 million in its lobbying efforts.
Glick had slammed his Republican colleagues while on the commission in 2019 for their refusal to act on an emergency waiver that was requested by Vineyard Wind.
The waiver, which would help the project break into the multi-billion dollar electricity market in New England, was later approved via an agreement between Vineyard Wind and the region's grid operator in October.
Other top environmental officials with ties to green energy companies supported by the Biden administration include Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and deputy interior secretary nominee Tommy Beaudreau.
Granholm holds a $5 million stake in the electric bus manufacturing company Proterra, which Biden has promoted before multiple times. Numerous top Biden donors also have "sizable investments" in the company, the Free Beacon reported.
Beaudreau had previously represented Vineyard Wind as a corporate attorney. He is barred under federal ruling from participating in any "particular matter" involving the former client for two years, but can assert himself in general deliberations regarding the wind industry.
During his time in the private sector, Beaudreau's financial disclosure forms reveal that he had represented 10 of the 14 companies with active wind farm proposals.
In the United States, only two offshore wind farms currently exist, both of which are must smaller than Vineyard Wind.
The Trump administration had previously canceled its permit process due to opposition from area waterfront property owners and fishermen.
Although the project was presented by Biden as bringing "good-paying, Union jobs," much of the project's manufacturing takes place in Europe, with a Denmark-based investment firm helping to finance the project.
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