Snohomish County PUD has received the seventh and final permit it had sought to study tidal energy sites in Puget Sound. On Friday, March 9, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a permit to Snohomish PUD to study the Admiralty Inlet tidal energy site. The utility now has FERC study permits for: Spieden Channel, San Juan Channel, Guemes Channel, Agate Passage, Rich Passage, Deception Pass, and Admiralty Inlet.
“This is certainly good news for us,” said Craig Collar, Senior Manager of Energy Resource Development. “While we were hoping, even expecting, that FERC would grant us all of the requested permits, it is nice to have them now awarded. Having all seven permits for Puget Sound makes it easier for us to lay out our study plans in a way that achieves economies of scale.”
During the initial study phase at the seven sites, the PUD plans to conduct a series of studies that, among other things, will measure tidal flows in detail, examine the seabed floor, consider potential tidal devices, and determine how best to connect the energy source to the electrical grid. The study phase also will consider a range of environmental and multi-use issues – such as impacts on marine life, shipping lanes and recreational areas – and mitigation strategies.
“We plan to start this study phase immediately and are looking forward to learning more about these Puget Sound sites and sharing this information with other interested stakeholders,” said Collar. “Our Commissioners have expressed their enthusiasm for Snohomish PUD being a leader in this important, renewable, and emission-free technology.”
Throughout the process, the utility will seek input from local tribes, environmental groups and other interested organizations. Additionally, the PUD plans to work with several partners during the study phase, including the University of Washington, the Electric Power Research Institute and the Bonneville Power Administration.