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PG&E Humboldt County Wave Project

STATUS: Killed

TYPE: Wave energy

OPPOSITION: California state government; NGOs, including Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics, Surfrider Foundation

PROSPECTS: Unlikely

BACKGROUND:  October 16, 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) nixed a power purchase agreement for wave energy by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) with British Columbia-based Finavera. The Canadian firm planned to construct a 5 MW wave energy project off the Humboldt County coast.

The CPUC's ruling denying the project found "Finavera's wave technology is pre-commercial." In its decision, the CPUC noted that a prototype wave energy buoy that Finavera deployed in a test off the Oregon coast in 2007 sank before completing a six week test period. The commission also found that the project cost was above the market price and "unreasonable" to finance with ratepayer money. NGOs opposing the project cited potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, public safety, aesthetics, and fishing access.

In February 2009, Finavera surrendered its preliminary permit citing inability to secure funding and the financial climate.

SOURCES: Finavera press release: http://www.finavera.com/files/2009-01-06%20Finavera%20Renewables%20FERC%20permits.pdf;
Renewable Energy.com: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/11/pg-e-no-longer-pursuing-humboldt-waveconnect-ocean-energy-project

Last updated November 9, 2010