Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced legislation to encourage private investment and continued research into cutting-edge technology that produces energy from waves, currents, ocean tides and estuaries and free-flowing water in lakes and rivers.
The Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act of 2013 (S. 1419) encourages private investment in marine hydrokinetic (MHK) power technologies by streamlining the regulatory process for pilot projects that generate energy from oceans, lakes and rivers.
“Wave, tidal and other marine energy sources have enormous potential and Oregon is poised to be an international leader in the commercialization of the marine renewable energy industry,” Wyden said. “No one knows what technology is going to trigger the next energy revolution, so it’s common sense for our country to make it easier for private companies to test their newest technologies, and continue researching this promising energy frontier.”
Led by the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center co-located at Oregon State University, and several private companies that are part of the MHK supply chain, Oregon is positioning itself to be a leading force supporting this emerging industry.
The bill reauthorizes the Energy Department’s marine hydrokinetic research, development and demonstration programs, including the National Marine Renewable Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Centers. It also designates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency to coordinate environmental reviews and sets a goal of licensing pilot programs in one year or less. Supporters of the bill include the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, the National Hydropower Association and the Oregon Wave Energy Trust.
“This legislation is exactly the type of forward thinking policy that will help move the ocean renewable energy industry forward in the United States,” Oregon Wave Energy Trust Executive Director Jason Busch said. “The Oregon Wave Energy Trust appreciates the leadership of Senators Wyden and Murkowski on this important issue. This legislation will facilitate and expedite the research and development of new forms of reliable ocean energy generation and the family wage jobs that come with this growing industry.”