A preliminary permit is granted by FERC for up to a three year period, however does not give authorization of construction. The permit guarantees first-to-file status, which means the project will be given priority when a full application for license is made. Within the three years the company is allowed to study the site and prepare to apply for a license. The permit to be successfully translated into a full license the organization must supply FERC with reports on the status of studies. It should be noted that it is not necessary to have a permit in order to apply for a license. The benefit of the permit allows the companies to test the most viable option for construction without the threat of a failure of license.
Joseph T. Kelliher Chairman of FERC said: "These emerging new hydroelectric technologies have significant potential. However, these technologies present some challenges relating to reliability, environmental and safety implications, and commercial viability. Our action today announcing an interim policy while seeking comment on alternative approaches shows that we are dedicated to demonstrating regulatory flexibility with respect to development of these promising new hydroelectric technologies." FERC is supporting new technology in hydropower by allowing companies to test devises under preliminary permits such as Ocean Renewable Power Company OCGen technology.