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No Power to Come From Puget Sound's Tides

January 7, 2016

Snohomish PUD wanted to put two turbines on the bottom of Puget Sound near Whidbey Island. But at the very end of last year they surrendered their federal license.

It was a pilot project and would have been the first of its kind here. As the tides flowed in and out, the turbines would spin and generate enough power at maximum output for about 500 homes.

But it just took too long to get it approved, said Neil Neroutsos, a spokesperson for Snohomish PUD.

"We didn’t anticipate the licensing process to take us seven to eight years. That was one of the contributors to the project becoming more complicated," Neroutsos said.

The project also ran into opposition from a Japanese telecommunications company that has an underwater cable near the proposed turbine site.

Environmentalists also raised concerns about the turbines potentially impacting whales and other marine life.

Snohomish PUD spent $4.5 million dollars on the project. The utility says it’s focusing on other renewable energy sources like geothermal and solar.

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Snohomish PUD's early designs for marine turbines that would have been part of a tidal energy pilot in Puget Sound.