Offshore renewable energy development new rules and regulations could be introduced in the U.S. this year, potentially cutting the red tape for companies looking to put their wind, wave, or tidal projects in the water. Ken Salazar, the new head of the Department of the Interior, made an announcement this week that he plans to set a framework for offshore renewable energy “in the coming months.”
There was supposed to be rules in place as much as three years ago as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but “The Bush administration was so intent on opening new areas for oil and gas offshore that it torpedoed offshore renewable energy efforts,” Salazar said.
Offshore wind energy is becoming a big contender for the nations renewable energy plan going forward, with many projects beginning to look like they might receive planning permission. There are at least two big offshore wind projects on the way in the Northeast that could benefit from a streamlined bureaucracy, including a 350-MW project in New Jersey by Deepwater Wind and the Public Service Enterprise Group and a 400-MW project in Rhode Island again by Deepwater Wind.
The biggest winner could be the relatively young ocean power industry. Currently there are only a handful of projects worldwide in the ocean and generating energy that is feeding into a grid. There is quite a lot of contradictory and confusing laws and bureaucracy in the U.S. at the moment that could do with clearing up and streamlining.
Clearing up the interagency dispute between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Minerals Management Service could be a boon to Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies. The two announced plans last month to work together on a utility-scale wave power project that would be located off the coast of California or Oregon.