LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Wave Energy For San Francisco?

Looks like wave power will get some scrutiny in San Francisco in September as reported in this article, Wave Power Plan Gets A Test , SFGate.com (8/4/04). In September, San Francisco is co-hosting a conference on wave energy projects. And as this article, City Turning the Tides describes, a project has been proposed near the Golden Gate Bridge using technology by Hydro-Venturi.

In addition, as the SFGate.com article continues, California will also serve as the site of the Seadog planned for Humboldt, California's "remote and battered" coast:

Mark Thomas, the founder and president of Independent Natural Resources, said the Seadog evolved from a related energy production device that drove a motor by using the compressed air that is routinely fed into pipelines to move natural gas from one location to another.
Bolstered by $270,000 in venture capital, Thomas plans to have a single unit installed off the Humboldt coast by the end of the year to demonstrate the essential feasibility of the technology in the real marine world. The project must be approved by the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission.

Of course, this article is not entirely accurate. As we reported way back in this post , the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asserted licensing jurisdiction over wave energy projects back in February 2003 in the Aqua Energy decision. FERC's licensing authority preempts the states to some extent; for example, a FERC license relieves a developer of the need to obtain a certificate of public necessity and convenience from a state utility commission. And where state proposed measures for protection and enhancement of fishery and wildlife resources conflict with those deemed appropriate by FERC, FERC's provisions will prevail.

FERC has licensing jurisdiction over river based hydro so it may not be the optimal agency to regulate ocean based projects - but as the law currently stands, it nonetheless has that authority. States - and most others in the ocean energy community - have been slow to realize that FERC has interposed itself into the licensing game and may avoid the FERC process to their detriment.


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