OREC Secures Some Benefits for Ocean Energy in New Energy Bill…But Tax Credits Must Wait Until Next Year

On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Energy Act 2007. OREC played an instrumental role in securing important benefits for the ocean and marine renewable energy industry, including:

* Authorizing $250 million for Research, Development, Demonstration and Commercial Application to Expand Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Production.

* Authorizing the Secretary of the Department of Energy to Establish National Marine Renewable Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Centers.

* Directing the Department of Energy to Conduct a Report on Environmental Impacts and Recommendations to Mitigate Environmental Impacts.
While these provisions will help the marine renewables industry move forward, disappointingly, the Energy Act 2007 did not include other provisions which would have helped not just marine renewables, but all forms of renewable energy. For example, the Energy does not expand the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to include marine renewables (which currently do not qualify for the PTC), nor did the legislation extend the PTC, now due to expire at the end of 2008, for other renewables. Also missing from the bill was a national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)that would have required utilities to obtain a mandatory percentage of their power supply from renewable energy sources.

Finally, one version of the bill would have resolved the ongoing jurisdictional spat between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Mineral Management Service. The final Energy Act did not include this provision, which means that MMS and FERC are likely to continue to work on the terms of an MOU that would delineate each agency’s role in authorizing marine renewable projects on the Outer Continental Shelf.

To read OREC’s official statement, visit this link.