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PG&E to Study Wave Power in Humboldt & Mendocino

Feb 28, 2007 PRNewswire-FirstCall

Pacific Gas and Electric Company took the first step towards developing generation projects that could convert the abundant wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties into electricity by filing two preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Named "WaveConnect," the proposed developments would extend PG&E's environmental leadership by providing its customers with a new source of clean, renewable power.

"The waters off the coast of Humboldt and Mendocino Counties have excellent wave power potential," said Fong Wan, PG&E's vice president of energy procurement. "The development of this new type of energy resource, which generates electricity from the movement of water near the surface of the ocean, is one of the many sources of clean, non-polluting, renewable energy that PG&E is aggressively pursuing." The WaveConnect projects will begin with resource, environmental, and ocean use studies and if developed would use wave energy conversion (WEC) devices to transform the energy of ocean waves into clean, renewable electricity. This would be the first application in North America for a project that would allow multiple WEC device manufacturers to demonstrate their devices on a common site, which could help accelerate the development of wave energy technology.

Most of the WEC devices currently being considered by PG&E float on the ocean surface and generate electricity when waves are present. PG&E, as the lead developer, will be responsible for the permitting of the sites and will encourage the participation of multiple WEC device manufacturers in the projects. As part of its feasibility analysis, PG&E will solicit and incorporate input from local communities and interested governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Phased development of the sites would proceed if technical results support feasibility, environmental studies show that any significant impacts can be fully mitigated, and stakeholder considerations can be satisfactorily addressed.

PG&E intends to utilize the most effective technologies for the wave energy projects. If fully developed, the projects could each provide up to 40 megawatts of clean renewable electric supply.

Working closely with stakeholders, PG&E will take a leading role in identifying and mitigating any potential impacts to the marine environment in order to maintain the beauty and diversity of coastal waters. PG&E, working with environmental agencies and consultants, will undertake studies of the water resource and its various ecosystems. The project will be designed to minimize effects on the environment, coastal processes, and ocean users.

WaveConnect is PG&E's latest investment in innovative renewable energy technologies that address climate change. Pacific Gas and Electric Company already delivers some of the cleanest energy of any large utility in the nation. The utility currently obtains 12% of its energy from qualifying renewable sources under California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydroelectric. In addition, more than 50% of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no or low carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming.

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company


Updated: 2003/07/28