FERC signs tidal power agreement with Maine

NEW YORK Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:52pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal regulators and the state of Maine have signed an agreement to coordinate on the development of projects that generate power from the ebb and flow of the tides, marking the first such agreement on the technology for the U.S. East Coast.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday it signed the agreement with the state of Maine to coordinate procedures and schedules for review of tidal energy projects off the state's coast.

"It's my hope that with the leadership of states like Maine, we can get some of these tidal energy projects into the water so their effects can be measured and their benefits demonstrated," FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller said in a release.

Several companies are racing to generate clean power by building machines with turbines that turn with the natural cycles of the tides.

Ireland's OpenHydro said recently it sees full scale tidal power plants operating before 2014 as it builds pilot projects for utilities in the United States, Canada and France. The company's tidal "farms" would have each a capacity of 50 megawatts or greater, with individual turbines of 1.5 to 2 MW.

Previously the FERC signed agreements on tidal power with the states of Oregon and Washington.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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