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Environment

Interior proposes framework for renewable energy

January 16, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 3

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Credit: GE WINDS ENERGY PHOTO
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Credit: GE WINDS ENERGY PHOTO

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has begun developing a regulatory program to implement provisions of the energy bill passed by Congress last year that direct the department to promote renewable energy projects on the outer continental shelf (OCS). In a Dec. 30, 2005, Federal Register notice, MMS says it is seeking comment on a proposed regulatory framework for various types of OCS projects to develop energy from sources other than oil or natural gas. "MMS anticipates that the majority of the applications received ... will be for the development of renewable energy," the notice states. "Possible sources of renewable energy include, but are not limited to, wind, wave, and solar." The rule-making will also examine alternative uses of existing facilities on OCS, including research, education, and telecommunication facilities. The Electric Power Research Institute says considerable potential exists for generating power both from tidal currents and waves off the U.S. coast. EPRI says generation of electricity from wave energy could be economically feasible within the territorial waters of the U.S. as soon as investments are made to enable wave technology to reach a cumulative production volume of 10,000-20,000 MW. Land-based wind turbines, by comparison, generate 40,000 MW.

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