Snohomish County Public Utility District has received a $220,729 grant from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to fund studies of seven tidal energy sites in Puget Sound. During 2007, the utility will conduct a series of studies to evaluate the environmental and economic viability of the sites.
“We’re pleased to have BPA join us as a partner as we explore this promising new technology,” said PUD General Manager Steve Klein. “Tidal energy is a clean, predictable, emission-free power source that’s right in our backyard. As our region grows, we’re interested in identifying renewable resources to help meet increased needs.”
The PUD received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), earlier this year that allow it to conduct feasibility studies at the sites to determine their environmental and economic viability. The sites that received FERC study permits are: Spieden Channel, San Juan Channel, Guemes Channel, Agate Passage, Rich Passage, Admiralty Inlet and Deception Pass. The entire study period can take up to three years per the parameters of the permit.
“We're excited about the PUD's exploration of tidal power as a local source of energy with no associated fuel costs or emissions,” said Steve Wright, BPA administrator. “We at BPA are happy to be working on this constructive endeavor with Snohomish County PUD.”
As part of its initial study phase, the PUD will measure the velocity and direction of tidal currents, consider potential tidal devices to employ, assess environmental and regulatory issues, determine how best to connect the energy source to the electrical grid, and conduct computer modeling studies to evaluate site conditions. Beyond the financial support from BPA, the PUD will get assistance from technical partners on the studies, including the University of Washington and the Electric Power Research Institute.
In addition to the studies being conducted, the PUD will be seeking input from government agencies, local tribes, environmental groups and other interested stakeholders as part of its initial review process.