A new generation of hydropower technologies, the kinetic hydro and wave energy conversion devices, offers the possibility of generating electricity from the movements of water, without the need for dams and diversions. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 encouraged the development of these sources of renewable energy in the United States, and there is growing interest in deploying them globally. The technologies that would extract electricity from free-flowing streams, estuaries, and oceans have not been widely tested. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Energy convened a workshop to (1) identify the varieties of hydrokinetic energy and wave energy conversion devices and their stages of development, (2) identify where these technologies can best operate, (3) identify the potential environmental issues associated with these technologies and possible mitigation measures, and (4) develop a list of research needs and/or practical solutions to address unresolved environmental issues. We review the results of that workshop, focusing on potential effects on freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems, and we describe recent national and international developments.
Through a press release issued last week, FERC has claimed jurisdiction over hydro projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), a region within three miles off the ocean shore.FERC asserted that the Federal Power Act (FPA) gives the Commission authority to regulate hydroelectric projects on the OCS while the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) intends the Commission to be the lead authority over such projects.
HRC commented on the final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Mineral Management Service (MMS) regarding establishment of a program for authorizing alternative energy and alternate use (AEAU) activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted authority to MMS through the DOI to regulate energy production activities in the outer continental shelf. Such activities include hydrokinetic projects such as the wave energy, and ocean current energy.