Thursday, August 13, 2009

PG&E Remains Committed to Wave Energy

The New York Times takes a look at PG&E's efforts to develop wave energy. Last year a court struck down one demonstration project and now documents filed by the utility with FERC show that PG&E has voluntarily dropped plans for another in Mendocino County.

Plans are moving forward with a project off of Humboldt County, to which many wave energy detractors are asking "What is PG&E smoking??" (sorry, gratuitous Humboldt County joke...)

According to the Times:

"In 2007, the utility had applied for federal permits to explore the feasibility of placing wave energy generators in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Humboldt and Mendocino counties.The scuttling of the Mendocino project is just the latest setback for wave power.

Last year, California regulators also declined to approve a P.G.& E. contract to buy a small amount of electricity from a Northern California wave farm to be built by Finavera Renewables, on the grounds the project was not viable.

Despite the difficulties, P.G.& E. is pushing forward with a similar wave project in Humboldt county. The utility has cut that project’s size to 18 square miles from 136 square miles as it zeroes in on the most productive areas of the ocean. Jana Morris, a P.G.& E. spokeswoman, said that the utility expects to file a draft pilot license application for the project in the spring of 2010."

In addition to all of the existing logistical challenges to making wave energy work, the dreaded "fish card" has yet to be played to its full effect. If potentially endangering fish can disrupt a significant portion of the water delivery system onshore in California, just imagine what it can do out in the ocean...