Ocean projects eligible for U.S. incentive payments

The U.S. Department of Energy has added ocean-powered projects to a list of eligible renewables for its Renewable Energy Production Incentives program. The program provides production incentive payments of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to operators of qualified facilities.

In a final rule published Aug. 14, DOE revised regulations for the program to reflect changes specified in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It also revised provisions that had become outdated since the government initially implemented the program in 1995.

For purposes of the REPI program, solar heat and light, wind, ocean, geothermal heat, and biomass are considered renewable energy sources. Hydropower is not eligible.

DOE defined �ocean� as the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean, within the jurisdiction of the U.S., from which energy might be derived from tides, waves, currents, thermal differences, or other means.

The Energy Policy Act modified the REPI program by: extending the eligibility window; extending the termination date; increasing the number of eligible renewable energy technologies; broadening the category of qualified owners; and altering the procedure for determining payment distributions if insufficient funds are appropriated to make full incentive payments for all approved applications.

APPA: REPI program needs greater funding

REPI will make incentive payments for electricity generated and sold by a qualified renewable energy facility owned by a: state or political subdivision; not-for-profit electric cooperative; public utility; Indian tribal government; or native corporation.

The American Public Power Association said REPI remains a significant and necessary incentive for public power utilities, despite past funding the organization called inadequate. APPA said the program should be funded at a significantly higher level than the $4.9 million the Bush administration has budgeted for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Qualified facility owners are eligible for payments for ten years. First use of newly constructed renewable energy facilities must occur between Oct. 1, 1993, and Sept. 30, 2016. DOE said potential incentive payments will be determined by multiplying the number of kilowatt-hours by 1.5 cents per kWh, and adjusting that product for inflation for each fiscal year after 1993.

For information, contact Daniel Beckley, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, EE-2K, 1000 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20585: (1) 202-586-7691.

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