FERC Starts Environmental Work on PG&E’s Wave Energy

By Published On: June 11, 2010

Wave energy is getting closer to reality in California as federal and state officials kicked off an environmental analysis this week for a 150 MW pilot project Pacific Gas & Electric is planning off the Humboldt County coast. The utility would test 30 wave energy converters with different designs moored to four berths about 2.5 to 3 miles off Humboldt Bay. Power would come ashore to a PG&E substation through five submarine cables, according to State Lands Commission documents. PG&E wants to operate the project for just five years and then decommission it. The project, which could be operational by summer of 2013, advanced this week as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and State Lands Commission held two environmental analysis scoping sessions June 9 in Eureka. Both agencies, along with others, must approve the project before the utility can go forward. There’s no major opposition, according to the minutes of a local project advisory group consisting of the fishing industry, local businesses, and environmental groups. PG&E initially planned to build the facility off Fort Bragg on the Mendocino County coast but found that a nearby harbor was insufficient to accommodate the major equipment and vessels needed to set up the system. Eureka is more conducive, according to the Lands Commission.

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