U.S. grants study permit to Finavera’s 300-MW Coos County wave project

U.S. regulators have granted Finavera Renewables subsidiary AquaEnergy Group Ltd. a permit to study a 300-MW ocean wave energy project proposed for a site in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Coos County, Ore.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit April 26 to AquaEnergy Group for the Coos County Offshore Wave Energy Power project (No. 12752). The permit is valid for three years. It allows the company to conduct studies of oceanographic conditions, commercial and recreational activities, and possible project effects.

AquaEnergy Group President Alla Weinstein said project permitting activities will be based on the company’s experience with the 1-MW Makah Bay pilot project (No. 12751) in Washington. (HNN 4/26/07) Makah Bay is the first U.S. wave energy project to file for an operating license.

Coos County Offshore would use clusters of the company’s patented AquaBuOY wave energy devices. While the company said the project would have a total generating capacity of 100 MW, the permit describes a 40 MW to 300 MW project consisting of 200 to 300 buoys with a capacity of 200 kW to 1 MW each. The project is expected to generate 175 gigawatt-hours annually for sale to a local utility.

Redrawn boundary avoids FERC-MMS jurisdictional dispute

After filing its original application, AquaEnergy redrew the boundaries of the proposed project, thereby avoiding a dispute over which federal agency is responsible for the project.

The Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service had protested AquaEnergy’s original application, saying the project boundary extended beyond state-jurisdictional waters and onto the Outer Continental Shelf, over which MMS has regulatory control. (HNN 3/21/07)

As the new boundary is now entirely within state waters, the MMS protest is moot, FERC said. The permit covers an offshore study area of about 5.5 square miles, southwest of the city of Bandon, Ore.

When studies are completed and local stakeholders are consulted, the company said it plans to �micro-size� the project within the proposed area. The final installed wave energy plant is expected to require an area of between two and three square miles.

Finavera Renewables Chief Executive Officer Jason Bak said the Coos County project would illustrate how the company’s technology can contribute to the energy economy through creation of electricity, jobs, and shareholder value. Finavera, an Ireland-based company involved in global development of ocean wave projects, plans to pursue additional wave energy projects to deploy the AquaBuOY technology, Bak added.

Finavera plans to deploy a second-generation test device this year off the coast of Newport, Ore. It is working with Oregon State University scientists and engineers to explore the technology’s potential.

Oceanlinx seeks permit for Oregon wave energy project

Another developer, Oceanlinx Ltd., announced April 28 it submitted a preliminary permit application to FERC for another Oregon project, the 10-MW Florence Wave Park project (No. 12793).

That project would be constructed offshore of Florence, Ore., no more than 2.9 miles from shore. The Outer Continental Shelf begins three miles from shore. The project’s average capacity would total 4 MW, with annual generation estimated at 35 GWh.

While the application describes a 10-MW project, Oceanlinx said elsewhere it expects Florence Wave Park would have an initial installed capacity of 15 MW and could be expanded to 100 MW. The project would feature floating wave energy devices anchored to the seabed.

Oceanlinx, which is based in Australia, previously was known as Energetech Australia Pty Ltd. (HNN 3/5/07) It changed its name in April. Energetech America LLC. of Deep River, Conn., is listed as the applicant.

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