OREC Meets with Commissioner of FERC to Discuss MHK Development
On Friday August 3rd, representatives from OREC and SMI met with Commissioner Norris of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to discuss how FERC could play a larger role in launching marine hydrokinetic (MHK) projects. Damian Kunko of SMI gave the Commissioner an overview of current MHK research and development including the recent deployment of a tidal energy generator by Ocean Renewable Power Company in Maine. Additionally, he discussed with the Commissioner the current energy tax incentives and those set to expire soon. Paul Gay of SMI described the current state of MHK research as being in the “wild wild west” phase of development, in which companies are competing to determine the most effective technology.
The Commissioner was receptive to OREC’s interests and especially intrigued by MHK as a source of energy because of its predictability. Yet he wanted to know what more FERC could do to advance the MHK industry. Carolyn Elefant of OREC responded that the best way to help would be for FERC to leverage its existing experience with the MHK licensing process to share data on project effects and monitoring protocols to help resolve study disputes, identify opportunities for additional coordination with other agencies and revisit some of the existing MOUs with states. In closing, the representatives thanked FERC for its continued support in advancing MHK technologies through decisive regulatory action.