US Senate Committee passes MHK Renewable Energy Act

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has approved the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act of 2013, and the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability Act of 2014.

US Senator Ron Wyden has announced that his bill to encourage development of electricity from the water power in oceans, rivers and lakes took a step forward when it passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act of 2014 (S. 1419) facilitates marine hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies that generate emissions-free renewable energy from ocean tides and waves, and the free-flowing water in rivers and lakes. The Department of Energy estimates that there is enough potential energy in these unconventional forms of hydropower to one day power millions of homes.

Senator Ron Wyden said: “As anyone who’s ever felt the pounding ocean surf off the coast of Oregon knows, there is tremendous energy in water. I’m thrilled that the committee recognizes the need to get marine and hydrokinetic power projects into the water so they can move a step closer to contributing to US energy production.”

The bill reauthorizes the Department of Energy’s national marine renewable energy research, development and demonstration centers around the country, one of which is run by Oregon State University. It also allows developers seeking to invest in and deploy small MHK pilot projects to cut through regulatory red tape by designating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency responsible for coordinating the permitting of such projects, and setting a goal of issuing pilot licenses within 12 months.

The second bill approved by the committee, the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability Act of 2014 (S. 1971), would require the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Director to create an interagency committee or subcommittee focused on the energy-water nexus, promoting coordination and information exchange on research and development.

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