New Agreement Clears The Path For Off Shore Wind Projects

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that federal agencies have worked out a division in power that could open the door for off shore wind projects to take off in the United States:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Jon Wellinghoff, the acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are expected to announce Tuesday that Mr. Salazar’s agency will cede primary authority for siting offshore wave energy projects to Mr. Wellinghoff’s agency. The agreement clears the way for Interior to establish rules — now nearly three years overdue — governing the development of alternative energy projects.

For nearly four years, the Minerals Management Service — a branch of Interior that manages the nation’s offshore energy resources — and the FERC have been at odds over which agency has primary jurisdiction for projects in the outer continental shelf that seek to harness the power of waves and tides to generate electricity, leaving any rule making in limbo. The FERC for years has claimed jurisdiction over wave, but not wind, projects in federal waters.

In 2006, it was estimated that there was capacity for 900,000 MW of energy off US shores, enough to power to the entire nation, so long as the wind is blowing. But companies that wanted to develop wind projects in federal water were held in limbo. Now, this problem should be solved. Good news, as many wind developers are seeking to establish projects in the Northeast.

(Image courtesy: REpower)

 

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