NOAA bureaucracy a threat to OTEC?

Doug Carlsson wonders if NOAA bureaucracy could be a major threat to OTEC implementation?
He tells us the grapewine provides the following rumours: “NOAA is so gummed up with bureaucratic inertia due to the “shell shock” it feels over the enormity of ocean thermal energy conversion that it will demand five years of operating data from even a pilot plant before giving OTEC its regulatory blessing.
We would love to hear from anyone who can confirm or deny these fears.