Cape Cod canal tidal energy project

Monday, February 6, 2012

A tidal energy project proposed for the Cape Cod Canal appears not to be moving forward, as ocean energy developer Free Flow Power's affiliate FFP Mass 1, LLC has surrendered its preliminary permit to investigate the site and its priority to seek a license for the project.

The project was proposed for the Cape Cod Canal and part of the Hog Island Channel, between Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay.  The strong tidal currents and coastal geography combine to make the area near the south end of the canal attractive for energy projects.

As early as 2007, tidal energy developer Natural Currents Energy Services, LLC secured a preliminary permit to investigate stake a claim to the waters around the canal.  NCES's preliminary permit was canceled in May 2010 after it missed key deadlines for filing a draft license application and formal notice of intent documents.  At that point, the site went back up for grabs.

Three months later, another developer stepped forward, as FFP Mass 1 filed its application for a preliminary permit for the Cape Cod Tidal Energy Project. As described in the application, FFP's project would consist of up to 2,000 hydrokinetic generation units configured in a series of turbine arrays and turbine fields.  These turbines would be installed from the end of the Cape Cod Canal out southward into Buzzard's Bay, between Taylor Point (home to Mass Maritime Academy) and Hog Neck in Wareham.  FERC granted a preliminary permit later that year.

One year later, in October 2011, Free Flow Power asked FERC to accept its surrender of the preliminary permit for the Cape Cod Tidal Project.  FFP stated that it had completed initial diligence on the project, and that based on the results of that diligence, "FFP has decided not to pursue the licensing of this project".

FERC has now issued an order accepting the surrender of the permit.  FFP Mass 1's preliminary permit will remain in effect until the close of business on March 4, 2012.  Only after that permit expires will the Commission consider new applications for this site, at which point the rights to the site will again be up for grabs.  Given the site's potential, another developer may materialize, or either previous permittee could seek to claim the site in the future. 

Who will be next to try the Cape Cod Tidal Energy Project?

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