The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard have signed a letter of understanding to cooperate on licensing of the first five of 55 hydrokinetic projects proposed for the Mississippi River by Free Flow Power Corp.
Free Flow Power is pursuing development of dozens of hydrokinetic projects on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers offering thousands of megawatts. (HydroWorld 4/16/09) The firm also studied projects on the Ohio River, but surrendered 10 preliminary permits for insufficient energy potential. (HydroWorld 6/1/09)
FERC issued the letter of understanding June 9, outlining a cooperative agency agreement between the commission and the Coast Guard. The agreement covers five of the 55 projects for which Free Flow Power affiliates filed notices of intent to seek licenses. (Hydro Review January 2010)
The letter said the five projects are to be processed under FERC’s Integrated Licensing Process. It said Free Flow Power proposed that the ILP study process for the five lead projects be used to advance study planning and consultation for the remaining sites, which are to be processed under FERC’s Traditional Licensing Process. (Hydro Review November 2008)
The five projects are 19-MW Greenville Bend (No. 12829) in Louisiana, 20-MW Scotlandville Bend (No. 12861) in Louisiana, 54-MW Kempe Bend (No. 12921) in Louisiana and Mississippi, 14.8-MW Ashley Point (No. 12930) in Mississippi and Arkansas, and 11.2-MW Hope Field Point (No. 12938) in Arkansas and Tennessee.
Coast Guard to be cooperating agency
The letter of understanding addresses the Coast Guard’s role as a cooperating agency in environmental analysis of the projects under the National Environmental Policy Act. The letter covers procedures for interagency coordination on information sharing, analysis of proposals, and the commission’s preparation of an environmental document. It schedules the environmental review procedure between December 2010 and May 2012.
“This LOU sets forth the protocol that the commission, acting as the lead federal agency with exclusive licensing authority, and the Coast Guard, serving as a cooperating agency that has subject matter expertise on matters of navigational safety and maritime security, will use in preparing an environmental document for the lead projects,” the letter said.
The document outlines that FERC, as lead agency for environmental review, will provide the Coast Guard the opportunity to obtain information needed for Coast Guard analyses and recommendations. FERC also is to solicit comments from the Coast Guard on working drafts of documents and is to meet with the Coast Guard at its request.
The Coast Guard is to contribute information on navigation safety, maritime, security, and any other issues on which it has expertise. At the commission’s request, the Coast Guard is to assume responsibility for developing information and preparing environmental analyses in areas in which it has special expertise. The Coast Guard also is to make staff support available to FERC to enhance FERC’s interdisciplinary capability.
FERC previously signed memoranda of understanding with the states of California, Maine, Washington, and Oregon to coordinate procedures and schedules for reviewing hydrokinetic energy projects in those states’ waters. (HydroWorld 5/19/10)
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