McGuireWoods’ Bernard McNamee Comments on Texas Power Grid Failure Reported in National Media

February 24, 2021

Bernard L. McNamee, who returned to McGuireWoods in December 2020 after serving as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was interviewed by national news organizations covering the tragic power outage that left millions of people in Texas without power during a historic cold snap in February.

In a Feb. 19, 2021, Wall Street Journal article, titled “The Texas Freeze: Why the Power Grid Failed,” McNamee commented on the challenges facing wholesale electric markets as they attempt to integrate a changing mix of generation resources.

“The premises of that paradigm have changed,” said McNamee, a law firm partner and McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor. “That’s why public policy makers and electricity officials need to address some of the shortcomings.”

McNamee also discussed the crisis on Bloomberg Radio’s “Balance of Power” program Feb. 18, 2021. McNamee told host David Westin, “[T]here’s going to be a reckoning in trying to address the problems” exposed by the Texas outages. The interview begins at the program’s 1:32:38 mark.

“The problems are really related to market design, pricing and planning and there’s going to need to be work in order to ensure that reliable power can be provided in the future because there will be future events,” McNamee said.

In a Feb. 21, 2021, Politico story, titled “Texas and California Built Different Power Grids, but Neither Stood Up to Climate Change,” McNamee said an imminent infrastructure bill is likely to include energy provisions, but cautioned there is unlikely to be one simple solution.

“It’s going to be a lot of hard work, a lot of thinking by smart people to come up with practical solutions,” he said.