LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Verdant Gets Some Relief from FERC Licensing Requirements

Ever since FERC asserted jurisdiction over ocean projects, there's been concerns about the difficulties that a small ocean developer faces in navigating a licensing process originally intended for behemoth hydro projects. But there's some relief available, albeit limited, as reported in

FERC OK's Testing New Kinetic Hydropower Plant in New York City's East River
, Renewable Energy Access (7/29/05). According to a press release by OREC,
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), granted Verdant Power, LLC's request to clarify that they do not require a license to deploy, on a short term (18 months), experimental basis, six 36 kW tidal power turbine units that will temporarily supply power to two customers on New York City's Roosevelt Island, at no cost. Verdant had argued that it needed to install projects and connect them to actual customers to study and evaluate how they would operate in real world conditions. Verdant will use the results of its second 18- month study to enable them to complete its application for a FERC license...

As the Verdant case demonstrated, FERC's strict license requirement created a "catch-22" for developers of emerging kinetic hydropower technologies, who often need to install their projects to study and evaluate their efficiency and impacts, in order to complete a license application. By allowing tidal and wave developers to move forward with experimental projects, without obtaining a full license, FERC's order will facilitate collection of data that can help FERC make a reasoned decision on whether or not to grant licenses.

In a separate concurrence, Commissioner Kelly recognized that the Federal Power Act's licensing requirements were never intended to apply to experimental projects. Kelly explained:

"Verdant Power's project is experimental and the facilities are to be utilized for a short period of time for conducting studies necessary to prepare a license application. Second, the very nature of Verdant's project is one that requires a 'jump start' from the grid, in order to be tested...the potential for displacement of grid power is a necessary consequence for demonstration."


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