Senate passes Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), announced on April 20, the Senate passed two bills he wrote to increase domestic production of low-carbon renewable energy, one of which will help in the development of harnessing the power in ocean waves, tides and currents.

Wyden’s Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act would boost domestic production of renewable energy from ocean waves, tides and currents and facilitate private investment in potential projects, according to a press release.

Wyden pushed for his bills to be included in the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 85 to 12 and it includes provisions that would impact both the conventional and marine energy sectors.

“Climate change is a massive challenge, but the only way to take it on is by putting points on the board right now,” Wyden said. “By capturing the power from ocean waves, tides and currents, our nation has the potential to power millions of homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy.”

Amongst its measures included for conventional hydro are a number of improvements to the hydropower project licensing process — primarily as it pertains to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Wyden first introduced the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act as chair of the Energy Committee in 2013. He reintroduced the bill last year with Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Wyden is a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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