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FERC grants tidal projects extra year to file documents

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted Snohomish County Public Utility District an additional year to file notices of intent and draft applications for pilot project licenses for seven tidal energy projects in Washington.

Snohomish County PUD of Everett, Wash., holds preliminary permits for the projects, in and around Puget Sound. FERC granted the permits in February and March 2007, before it developed procedures for issuing short-term licenses to test new hydrokinetic technologies. (HNN 3/11/08)

Snohomish submitted pre-application documents for all seven projects Jan. 31, within one year of the effective dates of the permits. (HNN 3/13/07) At that time, the district also requested a waiver of a requirement that it file notices of intent to file license applications within one year of the permits' effective date.

Preliminary permits issued to hydrokinetic projects under the new procedures allow permit holders up to two years to file notices of intent and draft applications for pilot project licenses.

A one-year requirement was included in the first hydrokinetic permits issued by the commission under its original �strict scrutiny� approach for hydrokinetic permits. Early this year, FERC began including the two-year requirement in hydrokinetic project permits. The requirement applies only to hydrokinetic projects; it is not included in permits for conventional hydro projects.

As the pilot license process did not exist when the Snohomish permits were granted, FERC said it would construe the PUD's requests for waiver as requests for more time to file notices of intent and draft license applications.

FERC issued an order Feb. 22 granting an extension in the filing deadline to Jan. 31, 2009, to five of the projects:
o 400-kW Agate Passage (No. 12691);
o 3.5-MW Guemes Channel (No. 12698);
o 1.4-MW Rich Passage (No. 12688);
o 5.3-MW San Juan Channel (No. 12692); and
o 8.3-MW Spieden Channel (No. 12689).

FERC extended the filing deadline to Feb. 28, 2009, for the two other projects:
o 22.1-MW Admiralty Inlet (No. 12690); and
o 2.8-MW Deception Pass (No. 12687).

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