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Aug 01 2013

Wyden, Murkowski Introduce Legislation to Encourage Marine Hydropower

Bill invests in renewable energy from waves, tides and currents in oceans and rivers

Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced legislation to remove regulatory obstacles and encourage research and development for the next generation of hydropower – renewable energy from waves, currents, ocean tides 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.

“Marine hydrokinetic power has tremendous potential to generate a substantial amount of clean, renewable energy in the United States and across the globe,” Wyden said. “The bill Senator Murkowski and I introduced today will help commercialize marine energy technologies by streamlining permitting and continuing research and development, bringing marine energy technology one step closer to supplying predictable base-load renewable power in the future.”

“Seventy percent of the planet is covered with water, so the potential to generate clean, carbon-free electricity using marine and hydrokinetic energy is endless. Despite that potential, though, there are currently no commercial MHK projects operating in the United States,” Murkowski said. “The legislation Sen. Wyden and I are introducing today aims to change that by helping commercialize MHK projects through robust research, development, and demonstration. There is already great interest in these technologies in Alaska, but it’s clear that advancing marine and hydrokinetic energy could be of immense benefit to the entire nation.”

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.

The Department of Energy estimates that marine hydrokinetic energy has the potential to power millions of homes each year.

The bill text and a one-page summary are attached below.