OREC Offers Support, and Constructive Comments on FERC’s Conditional License Policy

In November 2007, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Policy Statement announcing the Commission’s intent to issue conditional licenses for certain wave, tidal and hydrokinetic projects. The conditional license would enable FERC to approve the license, without waiting for other state and federal agencies to issue necessary authorizations. But the conditional license does not authorize any construction until the licensee obtains final approvals from other state and federal agencies. FERC anticipates that the conditional license will facilitate financing and allow licensees to move forward with other, non-construction related duties under the license, such as convening stakeholder meetings or developing monitoring plans.OREC generally supported the FERC’s efforts, in these comments.  However, OREC expressed some concerns about the potential for abuse of the conditional license without continuing oversight by FERC. And OREC asked FERC to clarify that developers who failed to meet the statutory deadline for commencement of construction would not lose the license where other agencies’ failure to grant necessary authorizations caused delay.