Feds approve tidal turbine project

Plans to install the first tidal turbines in the sea floor off Whidbey Island passed an important regulatory hurdle this week.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a license to the Snohomish County Public Utility District for the pilot project. If the PUD’s commissioners decide to go forward with the project, the turbines will be the first of its kind in Puget Sound.

The Island County hearing examiner, however, has yet to make a decision on appeals of permits granted to the PUD by the Island County planning department.

Craig Caller, an assistant general manager for the PUD, told the Whidbey News-Times last  month that FERC had rejected the appeals and that the license would be issued shortly, which occurred Thursday.

Whidbey Environmental Action Network, the Tulalip Tribes, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, PC Landing Corp. and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community filed motions to intervene.

WEAN was concerned about the on-land portion of the project, which could impact a scarce plant community.


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