While traditional hydropower is a well-established industry, advanced water power technologies that produce electricity from moving water without the use of a dam are now emerging in the renewable energy sector. These technologies, known as hydrokinetics, generate electricity from the motion of waves, the free flow of tides, ocean currents, or inland waterways. As part of its broad effort to advance the renewable energy industry, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is funding various market acceleration projects designed to address key issues associated with hydrokinetic technologies that harness renewable energy from the nation’s oceans and rivers.
Central to this effort is the evaluation of permitting and licensing processes used in siting hydrokinetic projects. In September 2008, DOE selected Pacific Energy Ventures (PEV) to implement a Siting Methodologies project that identifies regulatory issues associated with hydrokinetic development. A primary goal of this Siting Methodologies project is to help prepare hydrokinetic developers and stakeholders to work with regulatory officials to chart a reasonable course through the permitting process. To that end, this handbook is intended as an informational tool to support stakeholders in navigating the regulatory framework by providing clear, brief descriptions of the current federal and state regulatory requirements, outlining the authorization processes, and identifying the agencies involved in these processes.