On April 9th, an agreement was finally reached between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) on the control of leasing, licensing, and regulating for all renewable energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Under the agreement:
- MMS has exclusive jurisdiction with regard to the production, transportation, or transmission of energy from non-hydrokinetic renewable energy projects, including wind and solar. MMS also has exclusive jurisdiction to issue leases, easements, and rights-of-way regarding Outer Continental Shelf lands for hydrokinetic projects. MMS will conduct any necessary environmental reviews, including those under the National Environmental Policy Act, related to those actions.
- FERC has exclusive jurisdiction to issue licenses and exemptions from licensing for the construction and operation of hydrokinetic projects on the Outer Continental Shelf and will conduct any necessary analyses, including those under the National Environmental Policy Act, related to those actions. FERC’s licensing process will actively involve relevant federal land and resource agencies, including Interior.
- FERC will not issue a license or exemption for an Outer Continental Shelf hydrokinetic project until the applicant has first obtained a lease, easement, or right-of-way from MMS for the site. FERC will not issue preliminary permits for hydrokinetic projects on the Outer Continental Shelf. In all leases, easements, and rights-of-way for hydrokinetic projects, MMS will require that construction and operation cannot begin without a license or exemption from FERC, except when FERC notifies MMS that a license or exemption is not required.
A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.