Going Green - More Support for Groundbreaking Tidal Energy Research
Everett, WA – Snohomish County Public Utility District has received a $263,000 grant from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to fund additional research of tidal energy potential in the region. The PUD has taken a leadership position in identifying additional green energy sources in the region. Its tidal research includes feasibility studies to assess the technical, economic and environmental viability of seven tidal energy sites in the Puget Sound. BPA provided $220,000 in research funding in 2007.
“We appreciate the opportunity to build a stronger partnership with BPA in support of innovative energy technologies that can be tapped right here in the Northwest,” said PUD General Manager Steve Klein. “Our country’s energy challenges are significant. With continued growth and increased demand, we need to look to energy sources that are clean, predictable and emission-free. BPA recognizes the importance of these goals with its support of tidal energy research.”
“The people of the Pacific Northwest benefit from a reliable and low-cost electric system that was developed through technology innovation and we are happy to work with partners like Snohomish PUD to ensure the system continues to evolve in order to meet the region’s growing demands,” said Terry Oliver, BPA's chief technology innovation officer. “BPA’s Technology Innovation program is working with partners across the nation to advance solutions to tomorrow's critical Pacific Northwest energy challenges, and this project is one of the great examples of such efforts.”
The PUD’s research includes continued computer modeling studies, assessments of environmental and regulatory issues, consideration of potential project effects and review and selection of tidal technology. Much of the research will focus on Admiralty Inlet, a site with considerable promise for tidal energy generation. Beyond BPA’s financial support, the PUD will continue to work with technical partners on the studies, including the University of Washington and the Electric Power Research Institute. The utility is also seeking input from a range of stakeholders, including government agencies, local tribes, environmental groups and other interested parties as part of its review process.
The PUD received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2007 that allow it to conduct a series of studies at the seven sites. The research sites are: Spieden Channel, San Juan Channel, Guemes Channel, Agate Passage, Rich Passage, Admiralty Inlet and Deception Pass. The entire study period is expected to last three years per the parameters of the permits.
The PUD also is evaluating geothermal energy and other clean, renewable resources as part of its effort to meet growing energy needs through conservation and renewable energy. Initiative 937, passed by voters in fall 2006, requires utilities to obtain a greater share of their energy supply from green renewable sources in the coming years (15% of their supply by 2020).