U.S., Oregon to coordinate review of wave energy projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state of Oregon have signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate procedures and schedules for reviewing wave energy projects in state waters off the coast of Oregon.

The commission said March 27 the MOU establishes Oregon's support of FERC's procedures for a shorter-term, experimental pilot license that ensures environmental, economic, and social protections. (HNN 3/21/08)

Under terms of the accord, FERC and Oregon agree:
o Each will notify the other when one becomes aware of a potential applicant for a preliminary permit, pilot license, or license, allowing for the start of coordinated efforts to review the project;
o The parties will agree upon a schedule for processing applications as early as possible, including specific milestones for FERC and Oregon to complete their processes; they also will encourage other federal agencies and stakeholders to comply with the schedules;
o The parties, the prospective applicant, and other participants will work together to identify potential issues, and to determine what information is needed, and what studies must be conducted;
o Oregon intends to prepare a comprehensive plan for siting wave energy projects in state waters off the coast of Oregon; FERC agrees to consider, to what extent, proposed projects are consistent with the plan; and
o Any pilot project license or other license issued by FERC must include conditions to protect, and mitigate potential damage to, fish and wildlife resources.

FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher commended Oregon for being a leader in the development of wave energy projects.

�Their efforts, especially with today's MOU, are critical to the successful development of hydrokinetic projects in this country,� Kelliher said. �This agreement is a model of how federal and state governments can work together to promote the new energy technologies our country needs.�

Commissioner Philip Moeller said he was pleased but not surprised by the leadership and cooperation shown by the state of Oregon in fostering new hydrokinetic technologies.

�It was no coincidence that we held a well-attended meeting in Portland, Ore., last October to explore modifying the FERC licensing process to encourage these new technologies,� Moeller said. (HNN 10/4/07)

The MOU can be obtained from FERC's Internet site, www.ferc.gov, under www.ferc.gov/legal/maj-ord-reg/mou/mou-or-final.pdf.

Washington considers similar FERC agreement

A similar agreement with the state of Washington, site of the 1-MW Makah Bay Offshore Wave Pilot Project (No. 12751), could be on the horizon.

Commissioner Suedeen Kelly said Washington is discussing development of an MOU with FERC staff, which would facilitate the development of hydrokinetic projects in Washington waters. FERC spokeswoman Celeste Miller added FERC staff informally contacted Washington about the possibility of an MOU.

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