Washington tidal power license surrendered

Monday, March 21, 2016

U.S. hydropower regulators have accepted a Washington public utility district's application to surrender its license for an unconstructed tidal power project.

Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington was the licensee for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project No. 12690.  The hydrokinetic energy project was to be located on the east side of Admiralty Inlet in Puget Sound, about 0.6 mile west of Whidbey Island. Project works were to consist of two 300-kilowatt OpenHydro tidal turbines, each mounted on a triangular subsea base, adaptable monitoring devices, trunk cables extending from each turbine to an onshore cable termination vault, and transformers and other facilities connecting to Puget Sound Energy’s electrical distribution system.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a minor, pilot project license for the Admiralty Island project on March 20, 2014, enabling construction, operation, and maintenance of the project for a period of ten years.

But in September 2014, the licensee was notified that it would not receive additional funding to proceed with the development of the project. Unable to locate alternative funding sources, the licensee determined that the project was no longer financially feasible. The licensee therefore requested to surrender its license.

On December 4, 2015, the licensee filed an application to surrender its license. Two entities filed motions to intervene in support of the license surrender.

On March 21, 2016, the Commission issued its order accepting the Admiralty Inlet tidal project's license surrender. In that order, the Commission noted that no construction or ground-disturbing activity has occurred, that the project site remains unaltered, and that surrendering the license would not affect any environmental resources.  The Commission therefore approved the licensee’s application to surrender its license without condition.

As a result of the order, the license for the proposed Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project No. 12690 is surrendered, effective at the close of business on March 21, 2016.  The site could still be developed as a tidal power resource, if a future application for development is granted.

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