A bill introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives would provide financial support for research and development of energy sources based in oceans, rivers, lakes, streams and other waterways. The proposed legislation, which also would provide production tax credits and investment credits, could benefit Snohomish County PUD as it studies tidal energy at seven sites in Puget Sound. U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) authored the legislation, known as the Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Promotion Act of 2007.
“We applaud Rep. Inslee’s forward-thinking in supporting research of these innovative technologies,” said PUD General Manager Steve Klein. “Tidal energy is a promising, emission-free resource that’s abundant locally and provides a means to diversify our regional energy supplies.”
The bill would authorize $50 million annually in federal funds for research and development over a 10-year period starting in 2008. Energy sources that utilize dams, diversionary structures or impoundment devices would be excluded from funding. The legislation also calls for an investment credit of 30 percent and extended depreciation for equipment that produces electricity from marine and hydrokinetic sources. Additional tax production credits also would be available.
“We'll need a range of new technologies to supply our energy needs in a carbon-constrained world,” said Rep. Inslee. “Marine power will be an important part of the clean-energy mix.”
The PUD received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), earlier this year that allow it to conduct feasibility studies at seven tidal energy sites in Puget Sound to determine their environmental and economic viability. The study phase is expected to take up to three years per the parameters of the permits.