Former FERC Commissioner Bernard L. McNamee is a partner at McGuireWoods and a senior advisor at McGuireWoods Consulting. McNamee provides clients legal, policy and legislative guidance on a wide range of energy and environmental issues.
His practice focuses on strategic planning and policy development, legislation, and rulemakings, including issues involving Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs). In addition, McNamee works with private equity investors and portfolio companies to help them understand the implications of federal and state energy policy decisions and market trends for their investment and business decisions.
McNamee completed a term as a commissioner on FERC in 2020, a position for which he was nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2018. During his time on the Commission, McNamee was recognized as a leader on a number of important energy issues and participated in more than 1,700 published orders on issues related to wholesale electricity markets, natural gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities, oil pipeline rates, hydro facilities, reliability standards, and ratemaking. He also testified before Congress and was invited to speak before energy organizations throughout the country.
McNamee assists clients with high-stakes and complex issues involving the Federal Power Act (FPA), Natural Gas Act (NGA), Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), Interstate Commerce Act (ICA), and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
McNamee develops coalitions for clients and works with state attorneys generals in developing multilevel engagement on important energy and environmental issues.
Before joining FERC, McNamee served in the U.S. Department of Energy as executive director of the Office of Policy and deputy general counsel for energy policy. His career in public service includes key leadership positions under Attorneys General in Virginia and Texas and policy advisor roles for a U.S. Senator from Texas and a Governor of Virginia.
McNamee previously was a partner in McGuireWoods’ Regulatory & Compliance Department. He assisted electric and natural gas utilities in rate cases and in obtaining approvals to build generating facilities and transmission lines, as well as the development of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and integrated resource planning (IRP). He played an integral role advising clients during implementation of the 2007 Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act, which returned the state’s utilities to a modified cost-of-service regulatory model.
McGuireWoods Consulting LLC (“MWC”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McGuireWoods LLP law firm. From time to time, various McGuireWoods lawyers provide non-legal services to MWC clients, but MWC cannot provide legal services or advice. Therefore, any work MWC performs for a client does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Should you require legal services from McGuireWoods, as well as consulting services from MWC, you must engage the law firm separately.
- While at FERC:
- participated in over 1700 orders and issued numerous separate concurrences and dissents;
- widely recognized as having helped develop pathway that allowed for the approval under section 3 of the NGA of over 14 LNG export facilities in a little over a year and ending a two year period in which no LNG export facility had been approved;
- approved numerous natural gas pipelines under section 7 of the NGA;
- worked on a number of wholesale market orders impacting PJM, ISO-NE, NYISO, MISO, SPP, and CAISO;
- worked on issues related to transmission, interconnection, storage, ratemaking, and reliability;
- worked on a number of cyber and physical security issues and standards, including NERC standards; and
- worked on approval for hydroelectric facilities.
- While at U.S. Dept. of Energy, worked on LNG export applications, renewable fuel standards, electric market reliability, and nuclear waste issues, including Standard Contract for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel.
- While serving in the Texas Office of the Attorney General, he led the Texas team in a multistate effort challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States (WOTUS).
- While working in the U.S. Senate, played leading role in drafting energy policy legislation filed in the U.S. Senate.
- While at McGuireWoods:
- represented electric utility in obtaining CPCNs to build three utility-scale solar facilities;
- represented electric utility in obtaining CPCN to convert three coal-burning facilities to operate on biomass;
- represented electric utility in obtaining approval for integrated resource plans (IRP);
- represented electric and natural gas utilities in various rate cases;
- represented electric utility in obtaining CPCN for electric transmission lines;
- represented natural gas utilities in obtaining decoupling mechanism and conservation program; and
- represented electric utility in approval of renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS).
- Emory University School of LawJD1993
- University of VirginiaBA1989
Street Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Appalachian School of Law
Member, Federalist Society, 1990-present
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Energy, Law360, 2021, 2022
Lincoln Fellow, Claremont Institute, 2014
Member, Attorney General’s Task Force on Access to Higher Education, 2003
Member, Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, 2002-2003
Special Assistant, Virginia Preparedness and Security Panel, 2001
Member, Administrative Law Advisory Committee, Virginia Code Commission, 2000-2002
Trustee, Virginia 4-H Foundation, 1998-2002
Member, Council for America’s First Freedom, 2006-2007
Member, Appalachian School of Law Natural Resource and Energy Law Task Force, 2013
- Presenter, "EPA 111(b) and (d) Rulemaking Revisited", 2023 EBA Mid-Year Energy Forum, October 11, 2023
- Guest, "Former energy regulator: US can curb reliance on Russian energy by removing domestic barriers", Plugged In Podcast, March 1, 2022
- Guest, "Former FERC Commissioner Says ‘Market Design Problem’ Was a Leading Cause of February 2021 Texas Power Crisis", The POWER Podcast, February 3, 2022
- Presenter, "Federal Legislative & Regulatory Update from a Former FERC Commissioner", E4 Carolinas 2021 Southeast Energy Law Seminar, December 10, 2021
- Speaker, Pipeline Infrastructure and Coal Redevelopment Opportunities, May 25, 2021
- Speaker, Energy and Environmental Initiatives Arising From the Biden Presidency, May 12, 2021
- U.S. Supreme Court
Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Energy Litigation: Conventional Power, 2022; Energy Litigation: Electric Power; Energy Regulation: Electric Power, 2023
Named to “Legal Elite,” Legislative, Regulatory and Administrative Law, Virginia Business, 2008, 2012, 2020
Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 2010-2013
- Author, ERCOT Issues RFP to Procure 3,000 MW of Capacity to Alleviate 2023-2024 Winter Concerns, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, October 9, 2023
- Author, FERC Implements Generator Interconnection Process Reforms: Compliance Filings Due December 2023, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, September 7, 2023
- Author, PUCT Winter Storm Uri Orders Reversed and Remanded by Texas Court of Appeals, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 19, 2023
- Author, Crypto-Miners, Large Loads Subject to New Interim Interconnection Process in ERCOT, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, April 21, 2022
- Author, "Why Marginal Pricing in Wholesale Electric Markets May Need Reform", RealClear Energy, June 20, 2021
- Author, "Time to Update Wholesale Electric Markets — But Don’t Forget the Benefits of Traditional Utility Regulation", RealClear Energy, April 8, 2021
- Author, DOE Bans China-Connected Transactions in BPS Equipment Serving Critical Defense Facilities, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, January 5, 2021