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Statement: October 2, 2007 Print this page
Docket No. AD07-14-000

Commissioner Moeller's statement at the Hydrokinetic Technologies Pilot Project Workshop

"As a Commissioner, I have endeavored to raise the profile of hydropower. My job has been made a little easier by the enthusiasm generated by new hydropower technologies throughout the country, including Oregon and my home state of Washington. These new technologies have the potential to harness abundant supplies of domestic renewable power by using ocean waves, tides and currents, and in-river flows. I think it is only appropriate that we are holding today's conference in "hydro country" to explore changes in technology to increase generation of this renewable resource--a resource that can help meet the renewable portfolio standards established by States.

Some of FERC's recent actions show the agency's interest in exploring ways to reduce the regulatory barriers for new hydropower technologies. The conference in December 2006 provided this Commission with information on such technologies. The environmental effects of developing this new infrastructure, financial issues related to the costs of research, development, and build-out and regulatory processes that may affect the ability of this new industry to succeed were explored by the Commission, Commission staff, representatives of industry, States and Federal agencies, NGOs, and members of the public. A review of the comments received after the conference persuaded us to issue a notice of inquiry on how to improve the permitting process in order to grant permits to viable projects while preventing site banking. The need for a pilot program licensing process was also discussed in the comments that were received.

I have repeatedly stated that one of my priorities is to support policies that avoid delays in the development of new hydropower technologies. In July, the Commission announced its decision to hold a conference on licensing pilot projects for new hydropower technologies. I am pleased to lead today's conference to discuss staff's proposal for a process that could complete licensing in as few as six months, provide for Commission oversight and input from affected States and other Federal agencies, and allow developers to generate electricity while conducting the requisite testing. FERC, as it implements its process, will need the help of all interested entities, especially States and Federal agencies, to act in a timely manner to promptly process pilot program licenses.

I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners, Commission staff, States and Federal agencies, Tribes and stakeholders on the current effort with the hope that new hydropower technologies will be commercially feasible and successfully developed where appropriate to generate renewable power. In order to reap the benefits of this renewable power source, we need to send strong and coherent signals to encourage potential developers of the new hydropower technologies.

Finally, as we develop new and diverse sources of generation, we need additional transmission infrastructure to bring this power to the market to deliver reliable, adequate and affordable power to consumers throughout the region as well as satisfy the renewable portfolio programs established by States."

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