The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 12 approved a December 2015 application from ORPC Maine LLC for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed Western Passage Tidal Energy Project, to be located in Western Passage, near the City of Eastport, Washington County, Maine.
The proposed project would consist of: 15 double TidGen TGU hydrokinetic tidal devices, each consisting of a 500-kW turbine-generator unit for a combined installed capacity of 7.5 MW; an anchoring support structure; a mooring system; a 3,900- to 4,200-foot-long bundled underwater data line and 4.16- to 12.7-kV transmission line connecting the turbine-generator units to a shore station with project controls and interconnection equipment; and a 1,900- to 4,600-foot-long, 4.16- to 12.7- kV transmission line connecting the shore station to an existing distribution line. The estimated average annual generation of the Western Passage Project would be 2.6 to 3.53 gigawatt-hours.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe questioned whether ORPC Maine should be granted a new preliminary permit when it has held two prior preliminary permits for the site of the proposed Western Passage Project. The essence of the commission’s policy against site banking is that an entity that is unwilling or unable to develop a site should not be permitted to maintain the exclusive right to develop it.
FERC said that ORPC Maine’s most recent permit expired on Dec. 31, 2013, and the Western Passage Project site has been unencumbered by a permit since that time. To date, no entity other than ORPC Maine has filed a preliminary permit or development application for the site. Therefore, a sufficient amount of time has passed for any other entity interested in developing the Western Passage Project site to have filed a preliminary permit or development application for the site and none has done so, said FERC. Consequently, issuing a permit at this time to ORPC Maine for this site would not contribute to site banking.
During the course of this three-year permit, the commission expects that the permittee will carry out pre-filing consultation and study development leading to the possible development of a license application.