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  • FERC grants new permit for 240-MW Alaska tidal energy project

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    Editor's Note: This article was originally published on HydroWorld.com sister site GenerationHub.com. For more Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, visit the HydroWorld.com Premium Content section.

    On Feb. 12, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a successive preliminary permit for Turnagain Arm Tidal Energy Corp. for a tidal energy project in Alaska.

    In February 2013, Turnagain Arm Tidal Energy filed an application proposing to continue to study the feasibility of the Turnagain Arm Tidal Electric Generation Project. The project would be located on the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet and adjacent lands of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska.

    The proposed project would consist of: an 8-mile-long tidal fence situated between Fire Island in the Municipality of Anchorage and Point Possession in the Kenai Peninsula Borough consisting of 24, 10-MW low-head, bi-directional horizontal bulb turbines for a total installed capacity of 240 MW; a 2-mile-long, 1-mile-wide water storage tank attached to the tidal fence; one control building/substation onshore near Anchorage and one near Point Possession; an 18-mile-long, 230-kV submerged transmission line connecting the tidal fence to the existing Chugach Electric Association substation at Point Woronzof in Anchorage and a new substation at Point Possession; and a 28-mile-long, 230-kV above-ground transmission line running parallel to an existing Homer Electric Association transmission line corridor and extending from Point Possession to the existing HEA Nikiski substation.

    The proposed project would have an estimated average annual generation of 1,271,950 megawatt-hours.

    The company previously held a three-year preliminary permit for this site that expired Jan. 31, 2013. During the term of the previous permit, it filed progress reports outlining its progress towards a license application. It also filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to file a license application and a Pre-Application Document (PAD) for the project under the commission’s Integrated Licensing Process. This demonstrates that the company was diligently pursuing the requirements of its prior permit such that issuing a successive permit is reasonable, FERC noted.

    The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 authorizes the commission to extend preliminary permit terms for not more than two additional years if it finds that the permittee has carried out activities under the permit in good faith and with reasonable diligence. “Given that the legislation suggests that five years is a sufficient maximum period to allow a potential applicant to prepare a development application, it seems appropriate, as a general matter, to limit to two years any subsequent permits that follow three-year initial permits,” it added. “Thus, as indicated below, this successive preliminary permit is granted for a 24-month term.”

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