Posts Tagged ‘FERC License’

Please Take Action By MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009 before 2:00 pm!

MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2009

ferc_seal1Just a couple of weeks ago, Ann Miles, Director of Hydropower Licensing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission visited the Mendocino coast.  The centerpiece of her presentation on January 13, 2009 at Fort Bragg Town Hall was to explain the FERC Hydokinetic Licensing process.

For all those present at the meeting, Ms. Miles informed the Mendocino community of the WRONG DATE to file citizen Motions to Intervene in the Green Wave LLC proposed FERC project on the Mendocino village coastline.

FERC has kindly updated the mis-information and has indicated they wish to have the correct date promoted.  This correct date to file Motions to Intervene (directions follow) is now Monday, February 9, 2009 no later than 2:00 P.M. PST.

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Here’s a novel and effective way for you, your company and your family to state your position to the Federal Government on Mendocino wave energy development. It’s pretty simple to do, it’s empowering and it’s effective in that each filing can make a difference. Interested? Read on.

This action relates to Green Wave Energy Solutions’ application for a wave energy Preliminary Permit that was recently accepted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Since early December 2008, FERC has enabled a process for the public and interested parties to share their views (intervene).  The best way to participate is go online to the FERC web site and use the guide below to share your views on the Green Wave FERC hydrokinetic application.

Click on this HERE for a step-by-step instruction guide authored by Elizabeth Mitchell, FERC Coordinator for Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics, FISH.

More about the FERC and Green Wave Energy Solutions Mendocino Wave Energy Permit

An application for a wave energy project in the ocean off Mendocino, California has been filed by Green Wave Energy Solutions, LLC.  Green Wave has made an application to put 10 to 100 wave energy devices in 17 square miles of ocean, between 0.5 and 2.6 miles offshore, running roughly north and south between the Navarro River and Point Cabrillo on the North Coast of California.

On December 9, 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) began the permit process for the project by issuing a “Notice of Preliminary Permit Applications Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comment, Motions to Intervene, and Competing Applications.”  

The law provides that interested individuals and organizations may become parties to the permit process.  In order to become a party, you and/or your organization(s) must file a “Motion to Intervene.”  The deadline for intervening in the Green Wave Project is Monday, February 9, 2009 by 2:00 P.M. PST.

You may intervene no matter what your current views are on the merits of wave energy.  Intervention gives you a place at the table as a full party to the permit process.  It also enables you to appeal future FERC rulings with respect to the permit. 

Intervening is not difficult, and you do not have to be a lawyer to do it.  If you file your motion to intervene by the Monday, February 9, 2009 deadline, and no one opposes your intervention, you automatically become a party after 15 days.

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 17, 2009

Here’s the post from MendoCoastCurrent in the Citizen’s Briefing Book at President-elect Barack Obama’s change.gov site:

Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force

Immediately establish and staff a Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force chartered with exploring and fast-tracking the development, exploration and commercialization of environmentally-sensitive renewable energy solutions in solar, wind, wave, green-ag, et al.

At this ‘world-class incubator,’ federal energy policy development is created as cutting-edge technologies and science move swiftly from white boards and white papers to testing to refinement and implementation.


If you wish to support this, please vote up this post at :

Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force.


Mendocino Energy:

Renewable energy incubator and campus on the Mendocino coast exploring nascent and organic technology solutions in wind, wave, solar, green-ag, bioremediation and coastal energy, located on the 400+ acre waterfront G-P Mill site.

Mendocino Energy may be a Campus in Obama’s Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force.


Mendocino Energy is located on the Mendocino coast, three plus hours north of San Francisco/Silicon Valley.  On the waterfront of Fort Bragg, a portion of the now-defunct Georgia-Pacific Mill Site shall be used for exploring best practices, cost-efficient, environmentally-sensitive renewable and sustainable energy development – wind, wave, solar, bioremediation, green-ag, among many others. The end goal is to identify and engineer optimum, commercial-scale, sustainable, renewable energy solutions.

Start-ups, universities (e.g., Stanford’s newly-funded energy institute), the federal government (RED) and the world’s greatest minds working together to create, collaborate, compete and participate in this fast-tracked exploration.

The campus is quickly constructed of green, temp-portable structures (also a green technology) on the healthiest areas of the Mill Site as in the past, this waterfront, 400+ acre created contaminated areas where mushroom bioremediation is currently being tested (one more sustainable technology requiring exploration). So, readying the site and determining best sites for solar thermal, wind turbines and mills, wave energy, etc.

To learn more about these technologies, especially wave energy, RSS MendoCoastCurrent.

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Excerpts from article by FRANK HARTZELL, The Mendocino Beacon, December 24, 2008

On January 13, 2009, from 5-7p.m. at Fort Bragg Town Hall, a “top official from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will appear to explain the agency’s strategy on developing what it calls “hydrokinetic” power as an alterative energy source.

Ann F. Miles, FERC’s director of the Division of Hydropower Licensing, will meet with county and city officials before attending the public meeting in Fort Bragg.

“The FISH Committee is looking forward to FERC’s visit, and welcomes the opportunity to learn about the different FERC licensing processes for wave energy, and how fishermen and other affected people can participate and have their voices heard,” said attorney Elizabeth Mitchell, who represents the Fisherman Involved for Safe Hydrokinetics.

Ocean waters off the Mendocino Coast, from Little River to Cleone, are now claimed under exclusive study permits by two different wave energy developers. GreenWave LLC claims 17 square miles of waters from Little River to Point Cabrillo, while PG&E claims 68 square miles from Point Cabrillo to Cleone.

Preliminary permits granted by FERC give not only exclusive study rights to the claimants, but also licensing priority to develop wave energy upon successful completion of the three-year studies.

Fort Bragg has become ground-zero for wave energy regulation. The federal Minerals Management Service, which is involved in an open feud with FERC over wave energy regulation, has sought to make Fort Bragg its test case.

FERC drew local ire by denying local efforts to intervene in the study process. At one point, protesters carried signs targeting the obscure federal agency with messages such as “Don’t FERC with us.”

One FERC insider said commissioners had complained that more fuss had been made in tiny Fort Bragg than the entire rest of the nation.

FERC later relented and on appeal granted intervener status to Mendocino County, for the PG&E project. The period to intervene and comment on GreenWave’s permit closes Friday, Feb. 6. As yet, nobody has filed anything with FERC, according to its Website.

“The commission’s existing procedures are well-established and well-suited to address this expansion of conventional hydropower with new technologies,” Miles told Congress last year, “and we are prepared to learn from experience in this rapidly evolving area and to make whatever regulatory adjustments are appropriate in order to help realize the potential of this renewable energy resource.”

FERC expanded its domain into all tidal, wave, river flow and ocean current study and licensing with its novel concept of a unified “hydrokinetic” regulation.

From the Yukon River in Alaska to the ocean currents off the Florida Keys, FERC has grown its regulatory territory dramatically since the start of the Bush administration. The agency is now explaining how dam regulation and wave energy innovation can go together. FERC recently granted the first hydrokinetic plant permit for production of energy in the Mississippi River in the state of Minnesota.

The independent agency has moved quickly with Neo-Con era disdain for regulation, eschewing calls from fellow federal and state agencies for a conventional rulemaking process. Instead FERC has adjusted its process as it goes along.

In her presentation to Congress, Miles focused on wave energy, not the more prevalent river current energy plans. She said wave energy projects will likely occur close to shore, not far out in federal waters.

“The cumulative costs of development … make it advantageous to locate projects nearer to the shore,” Miles told Congress.

Locals have complained that FERC has no intelligible process for public input. Governments and critics of FERC have been frustrated in efforts to get details.

FERC is a uniquely independent federal agency. It is under the Department of Energy but does not report to DOE, a structure that was created during the Great Depression. The president appoints FERC commissioners.

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MendoCoastCurrent, October 16, 2008

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) claimed that it has jurisdiction over hydroelectric projects located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), pointing to laws that define its role.

FERC addressed the jurisdictional question, raised by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Mineral Management Service (MMS), in the context of a rehearing order on two preliminary permits issued to PG&E to study the feasibility of developing wave energy projects in the OCS off the California coast. The projects are the Humboldt Project off the coast of the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt County near Eureka, and the Mendocino Project off the coast of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

Commissioner Philip Moeller said the development of viable hydrokinetic resources needs a streamlined process like FERC’s. “It is indisputable that renewable energy is a valuable resource and hydrokinetic projects could harness a vast resource of new hydropower,” he said. “Instead of legal battles, my preference, and this Commission’s, has been to reach out to federal agencies and states to work in a cooperative manner to the same goal: timely development of a new renewable power resource in a responsible manner after input from all affected stakeholders.”

MMS has asserted that FERC only has jurisdiction to issue licenses and preliminary permits for projects within state waters, which for most states is defined as extending three miles offshore. Projects beyond state waters are considered to be located in the OCS.

But FERC says the Federal Power Act (FPA) gives it two bases of authority to issue preliminary permits and licensees for hydroelectric projects located on the OCS. First, the law expressly grants FERC jurisdiction to license in “navigable waters” without limitation as well as in “streams or other bodies of water over which Congress has jurisdiction.” 

The second authority is for those projects located on “reservations” of the United States. FERC concludes that the OCS is land owned by the United States, qualifying it to be a “reservation” under the FPA. “The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently held that the United States owns the submerged lands off its shores, beginning from the low-water mark,” FERC said.

Finally, FERC addressed comments by MMS about the meaning of the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) as it relates to the jurisdiction question for hydroelectric projects located on the OCS. MMS asserted that EPAct 2005 intended for MMS to be the lead federal regulatory authority over wave and ocean current energy projects in the OCS.

In this order, FERC notes that EPAct 2005 does not limit the scope of its authority over hydroelectric power or withdraw FERC jurisdiction over projects in the OCS. “To the contrary, Congress expressly preserved the Commission’s comprehensive hydroelectric licensing authority under the FPA by including two saving clauses….,” FERC said.

FERC Chairman Kelliher stressed today that FERC recognizes the role of Interior, which through the Minerals Management Service (MMS) manages lands on the OCS. There is no conflict with FERC’s role as the licensing agency, he said.

“We have proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MMS that carefully delineates the roles of the two agencies in a manner that respects both our licensing, and Interior’s resource, roles,” Kelliher said. “We stand ready to enter into the MOU to clarify those roles.”

A preliminary permit gives the holder of a permit priority over the site for three years while the holder studies the feasibility of developing the site. It does not authorize construction of any kind. A license authorizes construction and operation of a hydroelectric facility.

FERC’s order also finds that although two local governments, the City of Fort Bragg and Mendocino County, asserted that they did not receive personal notification from FERC of the filing of the preliminary permit applications, only Mendocino County acted in a timely manner once it received actual notice of the application in order to preserve its right to intervene. As a result, Mendocino County’s request for late intervention is granted. However, the order finds that Mendocino has not provided grounds for the Commission to revoke the Mendocino Project permit or to reopen that proceeding. The order also denies motions for late intervention in both proceedings by FISH Committee.

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently devised two additional licenses for hydrokinetic projects: 1) Conditioned License; and 2) Pilot Project License. Below you’ll find FAQ’s on the new FERC Conditioned License which also defines the role of the Pilot Project License.

What is a conditioned license?

A conditioned license authorizes the construction, operation, and maintenance of an original (i.e., unconstructed) hydrokinetic project with the proviso that the licensee may not begin on-site construction or installation until further Commission order after the licensee has received all other authorizations required by federal law.

What is the difference between a conditioned license and a pilot project license?

A pilot project license authorizes the construction, operation, and maintenance of an original (i.e., unconstructed) hydrokinetic project that is: (1)small (5 megawatts or less); (2) easily removed or shut down quickly; (3) located in a non-sensitive area; and (4) has the primary purpose of testing new technologies or locating suitable generation sites.

A conditioned license is different from a pilot project license in that a conditioned license could be issued for either a pilot or non-pilot hydrokinetic project, and a conditioned license contains the proviso that the licensee may not begin on-site construction or installation until further Commission action after the licensee has received all other authorizations required by federal law. Once the authorizations have been received, the formerly conditioned license will be just like any other license.

How is a conditioned license different from a preliminary permit in terms of providing a “first-in-time, first-in-right” benefit?

The purpose of a preliminary permit is to maintain priority of application for a license during the term of the permit while the permittee conducts investigations and gathers data necessary for it to determine the feasibility of the proposed project, and if the project is found to be feasible, while the permittee prepares an acceptable license application. The permit does not allow construction, operation, or maintenance of a project. A conditioned license, issued only after the Commission has developed a complete record regarding a license application, authorizes the construction, operation, and maintenance of a hydrokinetic project, thereby giving a licensee the exclusive right to develop the site for purposes of hydrokinetic generation in accordance with the terms of the license.

To what types of projects does a conditioned license apply?

A conditioned license could apply to any license application for a proposed hydrokinetic project using any of the Commission’s licensing processes.

Who will determine whether a project should be issued a conditioned license?

The Commission will determine whether it is appropriate to issue a conditioned license in a given case. In doing so, the Commission would consider any filed comments on the issue. Under Commission staff’s proposal, staff would expedite processing of license applications for hydrokinetic pilot projects that would meet the four criteria. A license issued for a hydrokinetic pilot project processed under the expedited procedures would be called a pilot project license.

Under what circumstances would the Commission deem a conditioned license to be “appropriate” (ref. paragraphs 1 and 8 of the Policy Statement)?

Commission staff interprets the use of the word “appropriate” in the Policy Statement to mean that the decision to issue a conditioned license will be made on a case-by-case basis after considering the specific circumstances of the case.

Would a prospective licensee’s need for a conditioned license for purposes of securing project financing qualify as an “appropriate” circumstance?

The decision to issue a conditioned license will be made on a case-by-case basis after considering the circumstances of the case. Project financing could be one of the factors that the Commission considers.

Would a prospective licensee for a hydrokinetic project have the option of requesting a non-conditioned license?

Yes. A license applicant may propose that the Commission issue a nonconditioned license; however, the final decision whether to issue a conditioned license would rest with the Commission after considering the circumstances of the case.


How will the Commission ensure that it meets its obligations with respect to the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, Federal Power Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, Magnuson-Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act?

Under a conditioned license, a licensee may not begin on-site construction and installation of a hydrokinetic project until the Commission has determined that the requirements of all applicable federal laws are satisfied.

How will the Commission ensure that the licensee has received the other required federal and state authorizations or waivers after issuance of the conditioned license? What should a licensee do after the Commission or licensee, as applicable, receives the other required federal and state authorizations or waivers?

A conditioned license will require that the licensee file with the Commission written notification along with copies of all applicable authorizations or waivers under federal law. Therefore, upon receiving the federal and state authorizations or waivers, the licensee should file with the Commission written notification and copies of the authorizations. The Commission will then review the filing and take action to authorize the commencement of on-site construction after making a finding that the licensee has satisfied the requirements of the applicable federal laws. Where appropriate, the Commission will incorporate additional conditions received with the federal and state authorizations into the license.

What steps will the Commission take to ensure that a prospective licensee, upon receiving a conditioned license, does not stall the process of obtaining the required federal and state authorizations with the express purpose of banking the licensed site until such time as the technology is either fully developed or the site is economically prime for development?

Upon receiving any license from the Commission, including a conditioned license, a licensee is required under section 13 of the Federal Power Act to begin on-site construction or installation of the project works within two years from the effective date of the license. With good reason, the Commission can extend the initial two-year period by up to an additional two years.

The Commission is required by section 13 to terminate a license if there is failure to begin actual construction of the project works within the time prescribed by the license, or as extended by the Commission.

How will the Commission secure the cooperation and encourage the expeditious action of the federal and state agencies and Indian tribes responsible for authorizations after issuance of a conditioned license?

As is currently Commission staff’s practice, staff will periodically contact the applicable federal and state agencies and Indian tribes to inquire on the agencies’ and tribes’ progress and, where appropriate, offer assistance to the agencies and tribes to help expedite the process.


Will the scope of the Commission’s NEPA analysis be different for a conditioned license as compared to a non-conditioned license?

No. The decision to issue a conditioned versus a non-conditioned license will have no bearing on the scope of Commission staff’s NEPA analysis. All prefiling (of the license application) and post-filing processes will remain the same, including pre-filing consultation; issue and study identification; solicitation of comments, recommendations, terms, conditions, and prescriptions; and NEPA review.

Will the Commission consider agency recommendations submitted pursuant to FPA sections 10(a) and 10(j) differently for a conditioned license as compared to a non-conditioned license?

No. The decision to issue a conditioned versus a non-conditioned license will have no bearing on the consideration of agency recommendations submitted pursuant to section 10(a) or section 10(j) of the FPA.


Would the Commission consider suspending or extending the period for rehearing or staying the effective date of the license at the request of a prospective licensee until some or all of the required federal and state authorizations have been completed or waived?

Commission staff does not anticipate the need for such actions.

Can a conditioned license be transferred prior to a licensee receiving all required federal and state authorizations, and if so, what steps will the Commission take to limit the ability of licensees to “flip” the licensed sites to other entities?

Yes. A licensee and transferee may jointly file an application to transfer the license at any time after a license has been issued by the Commission. The Commission’s decision to approve the transfer would be made on a case-by-case basis and would be contingent upon, among other things, the showing that such a transfer is in the public interest. Upon approval and acceptance of the transfer, the transferee would be subject to all of the conditions of the license and to all of the provisions and conditions of the FPA, as though the transferee were the original licensee.

Under a conditioned license, when does the “two-year-clock” for commencing construction begin – after all required federal and state authorizations or waivers have been received or on the effective date of the conditioned license?

The “clock” begins on the effective date of the conditioned license.

What are some examples of the types of non-construction activities that a licensee may conduct under a conditioned license prior to receiving all other authorizations? What are some examples of the types of activities that are prohibited?

Examples of activities that would be allowed by a conditioned license prior to obtaining all other authorizations required by federal law would be development of plans and drawings in consultation with the federal and state agencies, Indian tribes, and others pursuant to the terms of the license and fabrication of project related equipment (e.g., generation equipment). Examples of prohibited activities would be any actual on-site construction and installation activities, including construction and equipment staging.

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The World, Worldwide Ocean Energy News, April 12, 2008

Sport and commercial fishermen, members from related marine industries and Ocean Power Technologies representative Steve Kopf met again Wednesday — and made tentative progress on rebuilding trust.

A robust agenda that included discussing the difference between a traditional licensing process and an integrated licensing process — two different ways a wave energy company can apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a full license — resulted in a three-hour meeting at Oregon International Port of Coos Bay offices.

Kopf proposed working with the recently formed Southern Oregon Ocean Resource Coalition on a road map to discuss issues relating to the 200-buoy proposed wave energy park off the North Spit.

In January, Kopf told fishermen in Charleston the company was proposing a 20-buoy installation. By March, that changed to 200. The switch shocked the fishing industry and put already tenuous relationships between the two entities in jeopardy. At the same time, it galvanized the fleet into forming SOORC.

SOORC participants touched on recent developments in the wave energy industry that included the Australian company, Energetech, withdrawing its permit request from FERC for a wave energy park off of Florence.

The “gold rush” is ending, Kopf said.

Various companies have applied for permits to study sites, largely in the hopes of locking up ocean territory from other companies. It’s also called “site banking.”

Kopf said companies can apply for a permit in an afternoon. To apply for a full license, such as what OPT is doing for its Reedsport project, takes millions of dollars and a lot of time. Some companies may not find it worth the expense.

“I kind of predicted that,” Kopf said.

“Will you file for that space?” Charleston troller Jeff Reeves asked.

Kopf sidestepped the question — and repeated questions from Port Deputy Director Mike Gaul, opting instead to suggest OPT send a formal, written response to SOORC.

Finavera, who received a preliminary permit to study a site off of Bandon, is under an April 26 deadline to submit its preliminary application document to FERC. Kopf said it doesn’t look promising that will happen, either.

The company still is working on its license for a project in Makah Bay.

Kopf noted that OPT already is working through settlement discussions with state and federal agencies for its Reedsport project.

Settlement discussions don’t necessarily mean that groups or agencies have approved a specific project. It simply means both entities have agreed to what further data will be collected and how the entities will cooperate.

For energy companies, it’s a risk-reduction measure, Kopf said, noting that so far, OPT is the company that has made the most progress, reaching settlement agreements with some groups and state agencies.

“We’re the lead project on this in the U.S., probably the world,” Kopf said.

Kopf said OPT plans to file a full draft license application to FERC next week, followed by a final, full application for the Reedsport project in May.

Both SOORC and OPT agreed to continue to work collaboratively in the coming months and that further discussion on the traditional licensing process vs. the integrated process will take place when the groups meet again in May.

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The World, April 10, 2008

The proposed Florence, Oregon wave energy park is no more.

At least, not on paper.

“Energetech America, under Oceanlinx Limited, respectfully requests to withdraw its preliminary permit application for the Florence Oregon Ocean Wave Energy Project …,” the company said in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 26.

Oceanlinx filed for a preliminary permit in April 2007 to study a site within Oregon’s territorial sea off of Florence. The project, as planned, would have consisted of 10 offshore floating steel frame structures, moored to the seafloor and comprising an oscillating water column, turbine and electric generator. Each structure would have weighed about 300 metric tons and the footprint for each, including mooring anchors, would have been about 300 feet by 300 feet. It was planned to have a peak capacity of 10 megawatts.

The company gave no reason for its withdrawal and a call to the company’s U.S. office in Connecticut resulted in a recording directing calls to its Australia headquarters.

So far, Ocean Power Technologies is the only company on the South Coast to have submitted preliminary application documents to FERC for a full license, after a preliminary permit is granted.

Finavera Renewables, which received preliminary permit approval from FERC to study a site off of Bandon, is scheduled to submit its preliminary license application this month.

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