In early 2007 Snohomish PUD (District) received preliminary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to study seven locations in and around the Puget Sound – from Rich Passage near Bremerton to Speiden Channel in the northern San Juan Islands. In 2010, the utility narrowed its focus on two sites: Deception Pass and Admiralty Inlet. In 2012, the District submitted a final license application for the Admiralty Inlet site. In March, 2014, the FERC issued a pilot license for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project. The 10-year pilot license covers installation, operation, monitoring, and removal of two tidal energy devices and associated transmission cables in Admiralty Inlet.
The tidal turbines create energy by using the naturally occurring tidal currents to drive energy conversion devices on the seabed. These devices would be completely submerged (no dams or barrages), held in place by gravity only, and would not be visible from the surface.
"Despite aggressive conservation programs, electric demands in the Puget Sound are continuing to grow substantially," said District General Manager Steve Klein. "The PUD and other utilities recognize that the Northwest region and the entire nation need to find new, environmentally-friendly, renewable sources of energy to meet this growing demand."
Additionally, Initiative-937 requires the utility to meet 15% of its load with renewable resources (not including traditional hydropower) by 2020.