Binz is an Arkansas native and 1967 graduate of Catholic High School in Little Rock. He has degrees from St. Louis University and the University of Colorado.
He is current principal for Public Policy Consulting and a senior policy advisor with the Center for New Energy Economy. He served 11 years as consumer utility advocate in Colorado. Full bio here.
Said the Washington Post in announcing the appointment and the expectation that Binz could rise to chairmanship of FERC:
The selection of Binz pleased proponents of wind, solar and other renewable technologies, though it could spark opposition from some Republicans and the coal industry.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, issued a statement Thursday night saying she would carefully scrutinize the nomination.
“FERC’s decisions have a direct effect on whether our nation’s energy is abundant, affordable, and secure,” she said. “During the confirmation process, I will carefully consider the nominee’s qualifications and fitness to serve — not only as Commissioner, but also as Chair.”
A friend who follows utility regulation mentions that Arkansas PSC Chair Colette Honorable also had been mentioned as a potential Obama nominee for FERC. She's soon to take office as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Who knows? She might still be a candidate for a future opening. Counting Binz, three Arkansans will have served on FERC, including Don Smith and Bill Massey.