The FERC-MMS MoU for Hydrokinetic and Renewable Energy Projects on the OCS: Unanswered Questions

Waterpower XVI

In April 2009, the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the development of hydrokinetic and renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). While the MOU resolved a long-standing jurisdictional impasse between the agencies, there remain unresolved regulatory matters regarding the approval and oversight of these emerging technologies. Now that the agencies have resolved the jurisdictional matter and committed to work together on this matter, however, such matters may be further resolved in a manner that would promote development of this vast renewable energy resource. 


Charles R. Sensiba, Julia S. Wood, Sharon L. White


FERC and MMS Provide Further Clarification

Following a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Minerals Management Services (MMS) have issued a guidance document that clarifies a lot of the process and jurisdictional questions regarding development of hydrokinetic projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).Per the MOU, MMS will issue leases for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) projects in the OCS,

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FERC and MMS Clarify Jurisdictional Issues

After months of row between FERC and Mineral Management Services (MMS) under the Department of Interior over jurisdiction over renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the two agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday that clarifies each agency's roles and responsibilities.Under the agreement, FERC will have the authority to issue licenses or exemptions to hydrokinetic projects on the OCS while MMS will be responsible for issuing leases, easements, and rights-of-way for such projects.


FERC Claims Jurisdiction on Hydrokinetic Projects on the Outer Continental Shelf

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.