Details About Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PCG) WaveConnect Wave Energy Project

Pacific Gas & Electric briefed Fort Bragg city and county government representatives on their planned WaveConnect wave energy project. Some of the details that emerged from the briefing:

  • PG & E will pay the city’s wave energy costs.

  • PG & E will make the results of all environmental studies public.

  • PG & E is considering 10 different, viable wave technologies and implement a pilot project to test the 3 or 4 that seem most promising.

Per, PG & E also addressed the issue of where the power plant would be located and what jurisdiction it would fall under:

While planning for an eventual project many miles from shore, PG&E will give up on areas more than 3 miles from shore for now, they have told FERC.

PG&E told the city they would site the pilot project much closer to shore, to avoid the jurisdictional conflict between FERC and fellow federal agency Minerals Management Service, or MMS.

FERC claims the authority to be the regulatory authority for all water energy projects in the United States. MMS claims authority for ocean federal waters, which are those more than 3 miles from shore.

PG&E’s 68-square-mile preliminary permit area, which runs from Point Cabrillo to Cleone and to more than three miles offshore, will be trimmed down to eliminate areas beyond the federal-state jurisdiction line.

"PG&E expects that MMS and FERC will have worked out their dispute by the time PG&E is ready to apply for a long-term license," Ruffing reported.

PG&E representatives are now promising significant help to local governments.

"All of the power generated by the 40 megawatt WaveConnect would be consumed in Mendocino County and would provide for nearly all of Fort Bragg’s electric demand when WaveConnect is generating," Ruffing reported.

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