Monthly Archives: December 2011

PG&E WaveConnect Program


B.P. Dooher, E. Cheslak, R. Booth, D. Davy, A. Faraglia, I. Caliendo, G. Morimoto, and D. Herman – Technical Report submitted to DOE EERE Wind & Water Power Program, December, 2011

Abstract

The PG&E WaveConnect project was intended to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of wave power in the open ocean adjacent to PG&E’s service territory. WaveConnect was conceived as a multi-stage development process leading to long-term megawatt-scale wave power production. The first-stage tasks consisted of site selection, permitting, pilot plant design, and assessment of technology and commercial readiness. The second stage would have included development of infrastructure, undersea cabling, and deployment of wave energy conversion devices (WECs). In the third stage, the most promising WEC devices would have been deployed in larger quantities and connected to the grid. This report documents the findings of Stage One. Site Selection: After studying the wave energy potential, grid interconnection and other project infrastructure along the California coast, PG&E selected two sites: one near Eureka, called the Humboldt WaveConnect (HWC) project, and another near Vandenberg Air Force Base, called the Central Coast WaveConnect project (CCWC). Permitting: FERC issued PG&E preliminary permits for HWC in 2008 and for CCWC in 2010. PG&E chose to use FERC’s Pilot Project Licensing Process, which was intended to streamline licensing to allow relatively quick and easy installation, operation, and environmental testing for pilot projects. Permitting, however, proved to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive, mainly because of the uncertain impacts of WEC devices. PG&E learned that even under the PPLP the project would still require a full analysis under CEQA, including an EIR, as well as Monitoring and Adaptive Management Programs and other requirements that had significant cost and scheduling implications. Continue reading

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