PG&E to invite wave power manufacturers to test at common site

Pacific Gas &Electric Co. has filed preliminary permit applications to study two wave energy projects that it plans to offer as testing grounds for multiple manufacturers of wave energy generating devices.

PG&E said Feb. 28 it filed preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the feasibility of developing wave energy projects at sites up to ten miles off the coast of California’s Humboldt and Mendocino counties. If fully developed, each project would have a capacity of up to 40 MW.

If the projects, Humboldt WaveConnect and Mendocino WaveConnect, are developed, the utility said they would be the first such sites in North America to allow multiple manufacturers of wave energy conversion devices to demonstrate their equipment at a common site. That activity, in turn, could help accelerate the development of wave energy technology, PG&E said.

Two such testing sites are being developed in the United Kingdom for multiple manufacturers, the Wave Hub scheme in England (HNN 8/23/06) and the European Marine Energy Center in Scotland. (HNN 2/22/07)

PG&E to secure site permits, encourage manufacturer participation

Most of the wave energy conversion devices being considered by PG&E float on the ocean surface and generate electricity from wave movement. As lead developer, PG&E said it would be responsible for permitting of the sites and would encourage manufacturers’ participation. PG&E said it intends to use the most effective technologies for the projects.

As part of its feasibility analysis, PG&E said it would solicit and incorporate comments from local communities and stakeholders. Phased development of the sites would proceed if technical results support feasibility, and environmental studies show that any significant effects can be fully mitigated. Stakeholder considerations also must be satisfactorily addressed, PG&E said.

Nationally, FERC has granted at least 17 preliminary permits for projects that would be powered by ocean waves, tidal energy, or currents. Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 of Everett, Wash., received five of those permits in February. (HNN 2/28/07)

For information on the PG&E projects, contact Roy Kuga, Vice President of Energy Supply, Pacific Gas &Electric, P.O. Box 770000, San Francisco, CA 94177; (1) 415-973-3806.

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