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Posts Tagged ‘Mendocino Wave Energy’

Editors Note:  On June 9, 2009, PG&E filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a petition to release the Mendocino WaveConnect preliminary permit.

wave-ocean-blue-sea-water-white-foam-photoMendoCoastCurrent, May 11, 2009

In early May 2009, PG&E’s WaveConnect team decided to cancel the Mendocino WaveConnect project because the Noyo Harbor didn’t pass muster and was deemed insufficient in several engineering aspects, therefore unable to support PG&E’s Mendocino WaveConnect pilot wave energy program offshore.

PG&E summarily rejected re-situating the launch site to the Fort Bragg Mill Site, only a short distance from the Noyo Harbor, where PG&E could construct a state-of-the-art launch for Mendocino WaveConnect.

PG&E plans to report their decision to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and anticipates surrendering the Mendocino WaveConnect FERC pilot wave energy permit. The City of Fort Bragg, County of Mendocino and the FISH Committee were brought up to speed by PG&E on May 11th.

PG&E had raised $6mm in funding from CPUC and DOE for WaveConnect, allocated to both Mendocino and Humboldt projects. This remaining funds will now be directed to only Humboldt WaveConnect.

And PG&E notes that Humboldt WaveConnect, at Humboldt Bay and its harbor, offers WaveConnect the required spaciousness and the industrial infrastructure as well as a welcoming, interested community.

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 31, 2009

On January 26, 2009, Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies agreed to work together to develop a commercial-scale wave energy project off the coasts of Oregon or California.

OPT is providing their expertise in project and site development as they build the plant’s power take-off and control systems with their PowerBuoy for electricity generation.  Lockheed will build, integrate and deploy the plant as well as provide operating and maintenance services. Lockheed and OPT have already worked together on maritime projects for the U.S. government.

Spanish utility Iberdrola is using OPT’s PowerBuoy on the Spainish coast in Santoña for first phase deployment, hoping to become the first commercial-scale wave energy device in the world.  In the Spainish project, Lockheed and Ocean Power are working toward an increased cost-performance of a power-purchasing agreement from which this U.S. wave energy project may benefit.

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Editors Note:  On May 11, 2009, PG&E pulled-out of Mendocino WaveConnect, read it here: http://tinyurl.com/qwlbg6 . The remains of the $6M are now solely allocated to Humboldt WaveConnect.

MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2009

wave-ocean-blue-sea-water-white-foam-photoPG&E caught a major renewable energy wave today as the California Public Utilities Commission approved $4.8 million in funding their centerpiece wave energy project, WaveConnect. The program also received an additional $1.2 million in matching funds from the Department of Energy. PG&E’s WaveConnect, a project already two years in the making, launches with a $6M kitty.

WaveConnect is chartered with exploring wave energy development off the coasts of Mendocino and Humboldt counties in Northern California. The stakeholders in this region are dyed-in-the-wool political activists, living in environmentally-centric coastal communities and have reacted protectively, sounding alarms that PG&E and the Federal government’s wave energy plans may foul, diminish and destroy the Pacific Ocean and marine life.

Over the two years that PG&E and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) advanced WaveConnect, only recently have environmental concerns and study become part of the discussion. The opportunity for Mendocino and Humboldt coastal communities and local governments to embrace wave energy development and connect with WaveConnect has not gone well, especially as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has disallowed the City of Fort Bragg and local fishermen to be party in the WaveConnect FERC Preliminary Permitting.

Jonathan Marshall, publisher of Next100, a PG&E blog, wrote “PG&E’s first step will be to conduct meetings with local stakeholders and agencies to learn about their issues and concerns. After completing appropriate environmental reviews and permit applications, which could take a couple of years, PG&E then plans to build an undersea infrastructure, including power transmission cables, to support wave energy demonstration projects. The utility will then invite manufacturers of wave energy devices to install them offshore for testing and comparison.”

“The anticipated cost of wave power compares favorably to the early days of solar and wind,” says William Toman, WaveConnect project manager at PG&E. “It will take several stages of design evolution to lower costs and increase reliability.” The CPUC and the DOE are betting on this evolution as in this funding scenario engineered by PG&E, the CPUC awards $4.8M in ratepayer funds while the DOE $1.2M is a matching grant.

Wave energy may become a key source of renewable energy in California. It’s proposed that the 745-mile coastline could produce 1/5th of California’s energy needs if, admittedly a big if, economic, environmental, land use and grid connection issues — and community issues — don’t stand in the way.

Marshall wrote in closing “Making ocean power technology work reliably and at a competitive price will be the first big challenge. Serving offshore installations with power transmission lines will be another economic and engineering hurdle. Finally, ocean power developers must also convince local communities and government regulators that their installations will not destroy marine life, cause boating collisions or navigational hazards, or degrade ocean views.”

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Please Take Action By MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009 before 2:00 pm!

MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2009

ferc_seal1Just a couple of weeks ago, Ann Miles, Director of Hydropower Licensing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission visited the Mendocino coast.  The centerpiece of her presentation on January 13, 2009 at Fort Bragg Town Hall was to explain the FERC Hydokinetic Licensing process.

For all those present at the meeting, Ms. Miles informed the Mendocino community of the WRONG DATE to file citizen Motions to Intervene in the Green Wave LLC proposed FERC project on the Mendocino village coastline.

FERC has kindly updated the mis-information and has indicated they wish to have the correct date promoted.  This correct date to file Motions to Intervene (directions follow) is now Monday, February 9, 2009 no later than 2:00 P.M. PST.

* * * * * * * *

Here’s a novel and effective way for you, your company and your family to state your position to the Federal Government on Mendocino wave energy development. It’s pretty simple to do, it’s empowering and it’s effective in that each filing can make a difference. Interested? Read on.

This action relates to Green Wave Energy Solutions’ application for a wave energy Preliminary Permit that was recently accepted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Since early December 2008, FERC has enabled a process for the public and interested parties to share their views (intervene).  The best way to participate is go online to the FERC web site and use the guide below to share your views on the Green Wave FERC hydrokinetic application.

Click on this HERE for a step-by-step instruction guide authored by Elizabeth Mitchell, FERC Coordinator for Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics, FISH.

More about the FERC and Green Wave Energy Solutions Mendocino Wave Energy Permit

An application for a wave energy project in the ocean off Mendocino, California has been filed by Green Wave Energy Solutions, LLC.  Green Wave has made an application to put 10 to 100 wave energy devices in 17 square miles of ocean, between 0.5 and 2.6 miles offshore, running roughly north and south between the Navarro River and Point Cabrillo on the North Coast of California.

On December 9, 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) began the permit process for the project by issuing a “Notice of Preliminary Permit Applications Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comment, Motions to Intervene, and Competing Applications.”  

The law provides that interested individuals and organizations may become parties to the permit process.  In order to become a party, you and/or your organization(s) must file a “Motion to Intervene.”  The deadline for intervening in the Green Wave Project is Monday, February 9, 2009 by 2:00 P.M. PST.

You may intervene no matter what your current views are on the merits of wave energy.  Intervention gives you a place at the table as a full party to the permit process.  It also enables you to appeal future FERC rulings with respect to the permit. 

Intervening is not difficult, and you do not have to be a lawyer to do it.  If you file your motion to intervene by the Monday, February 9, 2009 deadline, and no one opposes your intervention, you automatically become a party after 15 days.

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 17, 2009

Here’s the post from MendoCoastCurrent in the Citizen’s Briefing Book at President-elect Barack Obama’s change.gov site:

Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force

Immediately establish and staff a Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force chartered with exploring and fast-tracking the development, exploration and commercialization of environmentally-sensitive renewable energy solutions in solar, wind, wave, green-ag, et al.

At this ‘world-class incubator,’ federal energy policy development is created as cutting-edge technologies and science move swiftly from white boards and white papers to testing to refinement and implementation.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

If you wish to support this, please vote up this post at :

Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force.

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

Mendocino Energy:

Renewable energy incubator and campus on the Mendocino coast exploring nascent and organic technology solutions in wind, wave, solar, green-ag, bioremediation and coastal energy, located on the 400+ acre waterfront G-P Mill site.

Mendocino Energy may be a Campus in Obama’s Renewable Energy Development (RED) federal task force.

Vision:

Mendocino Energy is located on the Mendocino coast, three plus hours north of San Francisco/Silicon Valley.  On the waterfront of Fort Bragg, a portion of the now-defunct Georgia-Pacific Mill Site shall be used for exploring best practices, cost-efficient, environmentally-sensitive renewable and sustainable energy development – wind, wave, solar, bioremediation, green-ag, among many others. The end goal is to identify and engineer optimum, commercial-scale, sustainable, renewable energy solutions.

Start-ups, universities (e.g., Stanford’s newly-funded energy institute), the federal government (RED) and the world’s greatest minds working together to create, collaborate, compete and participate in this fast-tracked exploration.

The campus is quickly constructed of green, temp-portable structures (also a green technology) on the healthiest areas of the Mill Site as in the past, this waterfront, 400+ acre created contaminated areas where mushroom bioremediation is currently being tested (one more sustainable technology requiring exploration). So, readying the site and determining best sites for solar thermal, wind turbines and mills, wave energy, etc.

To learn more about these technologies, especially wave energy, RSS MendoCoastCurrent.

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FRANK HARTZELL’s article with MendoCoastCurrent edits, January 15, 2009

After nearly two years of local pleas for specifics on the WaveConnect project, PG&E representatives surprised Fort Bragg and Mendocino County representatives with many new details.

Those included the promise by PG&E that all environmental studies would be public, not private information. In the recent past, PG&E had been resisting calls by competitors and ratepayer advocates before the California Public Utilities Commission to make public more information learned during the WaveConnect study.

Another surprise was that PG&E has found about 10 different viable wave energy technologies — far more than first envisioned. The utility will choose the top three or four wave energy devices and test those under a pilot project license.

On Tuesday, the pilot license process became the biggest issue for wave energy officials gathered at Town Hall to hear two top officials explain the roles of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, and the California Coastal Commission.

Both Tom Luster, who will oversee all wave energy projects for the California Coastal Commission and 23-year FERC veteran Ann Miles, FERC Director of Hydropower Licensing said Fort Bragg has had more interest in wave energy than anywhere else in California.

Miles said PG&E would need to file for a conventional license by this March under FERC rules. Using the “faster” pilot license gives them until March 2010 to get started.

Miles provided lengthy and knowledgeable explanations of convoluted FERC processes during the three-hour meeting. But PG&E’s new announcements, which came in private meetings last week, overshadowed the presentations by the top state and federal officials.

Luster explained how the California Coastal Commission would work with the State Lands Commission to review any wave energy project within three miles of shore.

PG&E is now saying their 40-megawatt powerplant will be located “well beyond” that three-mile state limit. The powerplant would likely come after the five-year pilot project license.

That announcement unexpectedly changed the game for the state.

Luster said the big power cable that extends to shore would be regulated by the Coastal Commission, but development beyond three miles would be regulated only for “federal consistency.”

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

PG&E told Fort Bragg 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 three 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 representatives are now promising significant help to local governments.

It was reported that 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.

Additionally, PG&E intends to pay their expenses, including reviewing, permitting and the community process for public participation.

Miles said FERC has no requirements in place to determine that a developer be able to pay for removal of devices in case of bankruptcy or disaster.

Luster said the State Lands Commission handles financial arrangements, such as bonding of projects.

Miles was making her first ever visit to Northern California. She was set to answer questions from the general public at a Town Hall forum Tuesday night.

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 7, 2009

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher today issued the following statement:

Today I announce my intention to step down as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), effective January 20, 2009. Although my term as commissioner does not end until 2012, I will also immediately begin to recuse myself from FERC business, as I explore other career opportunities.  

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Excerpts from article by FRANK HARTZELL, The Mendocino Beacon, December 24, 2008

On January 13, 2009, from 5-7p.m. at Fort Bragg Town Hall, a “top official from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will appear to explain the agency’s strategy on developing what it calls “hydrokinetic” power as an alterative energy source.

Ann F. Miles, FERC’s director of the Division of Hydropower Licensing, will meet with county and city officials before attending the public meeting in Fort Bragg.

“The FISH Committee is looking forward to FERC’s visit, and welcomes the opportunity to learn about the different FERC licensing processes for wave energy, and how fishermen and other affected people can participate and have their voices heard,” said attorney Elizabeth Mitchell, who represents the Fisherman Involved for Safe Hydrokinetics.

Ocean waters off the Mendocino Coast, from Little River to Cleone, are now claimed under exclusive study permits by two different wave energy developers. GreenWave LLC claims 17 square miles of waters from Little River to Point Cabrillo, while PG&E claims 68 square miles from Point Cabrillo to Cleone.

Preliminary permits granted by FERC give not only exclusive study rights to the claimants, but also licensing priority to develop wave energy upon successful completion of the three-year studies.

Fort Bragg has become ground-zero for wave energy regulation. The federal Minerals Management Service, which is involved in an open feud with FERC over wave energy regulation, has sought to make Fort Bragg its test case.

FERC drew local ire by denying local efforts to intervene in the study process. At one point, protesters carried signs targeting the obscure federal agency with messages such as “Don’t FERC with us.”

One FERC insider said commissioners had complained that more fuss had been made in tiny Fort Bragg than the entire rest of the nation.

FERC later relented and on appeal granted intervener status to Mendocino County, for the PG&E project. The period to intervene and comment on GreenWave’s permit closes Friday, Feb. 6. As yet, nobody has filed anything with FERC, according to its Website.

“The commission’s existing procedures are well-established and well-suited to address this expansion of conventional hydropower with new technologies,” Miles told Congress last year, “and we are prepared to learn from experience in this rapidly evolving area and to make whatever regulatory adjustments are appropriate in order to help realize the potential of this renewable energy resource.”

FERC expanded its domain into all tidal, wave, river flow and ocean current study and licensing with its novel concept of a unified “hydrokinetic” regulation.

From the Yukon River in Alaska to the ocean currents off the Florida Keys, FERC has grown its regulatory territory dramatically since the start of the Bush administration. The agency is now explaining how dam regulation and wave energy innovation can go together. FERC recently granted the first hydrokinetic plant permit for production of energy in the Mississippi River in the state of Minnesota.

The independent agency has moved quickly with Neo-Con era disdain for regulation, eschewing calls from fellow federal and state agencies for a conventional rulemaking process. Instead FERC has adjusted its process as it goes along.

In her presentation to Congress, Miles focused on wave energy, not the more prevalent river current energy plans. She said wave energy projects will likely occur close to shore, not far out in federal waters.

“The cumulative costs of development … make it advantageous to locate projects nearer to the shore,” Miles told Congress.

Locals have complained that FERC has no intelligible process for public input. Governments and critics of FERC have been frustrated in efforts to get details.

FERC is a uniquely independent federal agency. It is under the Department of Energy but does not report to DOE, a structure that was created during the Great Depression. The president appoints FERC commissioners.

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JOHN DRISCOLL, The Times-Standard, December 15, 2008

A white paper commissioned by the state of California says that tapping the ocean for power should be done carefully.

The report for the California Energy Commission and the Ocean Protection Council looked at the possible socio-economic and environmental effects of the infant industry, including what it might mean for fisheries and coastal habitat.

It also made recommendations on what research should be done to address those potential effects.

The waters remain murky in regard to what type of technology wave energy projects might use, and the scope of necessary development. The study finds that it will be key to fill in that missing information to determine what impacts they might have.

“Site selection and project scale are critical factors in anticipating these potential effects,” the report reads.

Depending on their size and location, the study reads, commercial and sport fisheries might be impacted, but new projects would yield construction and operations jobs for nearby communities.

But projects could also interfere with wave shoaling and beach building by stripping some energy out of waves, and that in turn could affect species from the high tide line out to the continental shelf.

The buoys or other structures designed to convert wave power to electricity are also likely to act like artificial reefs where reef-related fish would congregate, the report reads, a change from what would typically occur in the open ocean.

Birds and marine mammals may also be affected, but likely to a small degree, the study found.

Still, the report concludes that there aren’t any dramatic impacts expected, and recommends that the push to develop projects proceed carefully, listing a slew of research that should be done to help understand the potential for problems.

Greg Crawford, an oceanographer with Humboldt State University and an author of the paper, said that much depends on what type of wave projects are employed.

“This stuff needs to be approached holistically,” Crawford said.

While some wave energy projects are beginning to be used around the world, there is little information on how durable they are over the long term.

As Crawford pointed out, they are deployed in particularly difficult and treacherous environments.

The report recommends starting small, both in the laboratory and with small-scale projects to help begin to understand the effects they might have when deployed on an industrial scale.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has won authorization from the federal government to study several areas off the Humboldt and Mendocino coasts, but the company recently ran into what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle from state utilities regulators on another project off Trinidad. In October, the California Public Utilities Commission denied the first wave power project it has ever considered, on the grounds that the Trinidad Head proposal isn’t viable, and the contract price to sell the power is too expensive.

A feud of sorts over final jurisdiction on wave energy projects persists between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Mines and Minerals Service (MMS). And it’s not clear exactly what agency would make the determination of whether the costs of projects outweigh their benefits, said HSU economist Steve Hackett, another author of the study.

“I think it’s a very daunting situation for the public utilities or a power company to take on,” Hackett said.

While environmental issues will be hashed out in an environmental analysis, economic effects should also be considered, Hackett said. That includes the detriments to a struggling fishing fleet and the upside of jobs from energy projects, he said.

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Excerpts from FRANK HARTZELL’s article at the Mendocino Beacon, December 11, 2008

On December 9, 2008  “the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a Southern California development company exclusive rights to 17 square miles off the town of Mendocino for a wave energy study.

GreenWave LLC’s intent is to eventually produce a 100 megawatt wave energy power plant, more than twice as big as the 40 megawatt project Pacific Gas & Electric plans off Fort Bragg.

Due to redefining of the preliminary permit process by FERC, the new preliminary permit does not encourage in-water testing. It does give sole claim and study rights to GreenWave, blocking any local study of the same area.

More valuable, the preliminary permit gives GreenWave exclusive first rights to a license to build a wave energy farm, upon completion of the three-year study.

The preliminary permit came more than a year after GreenWave, of Thousand Oaks, filed for two preliminary permits. FERC had initially rejected the GreenWave application as too sketchy.

GreenWave also was granted a preliminary permit on Tuesday for a nearly identical proposal off San Luis Obispo.

GreenWave is a partnership which consists of five men including Tony Strickland, a leading Republican politician in California, who was recently narrowly elected to the state Assembly. Strickland made his wave energy venture a key point of his campaign. His opponent in a heavily Republican district attacked this as “greening” of one of the most conservative politicians in the state.

That race, one of the closest in California this year, was decided this week in favor of Strickland, who prevailed over Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson by less than 1,000 votes.

FERC had criticized GreenWave for too few details about who was behind the venture and for not having information about the technology to be used.

GreenWave responded by emphatically stating that they weren’t ready to name any particular technology.

“Given the time-horizon for getting through the permitting process and the uncertainties of what the technologies will actually look like, GreenWave believes that it would be misleading to provide detailed specifications of a technology at this stage of the development process. GreenWave intends to select the most suitable commercially ready technology as part of the process once preliminary permits have been issued by FERC to further study the site,” the Green Wave filing states.

However, FERC’s permit says GreenWave will be using the Pelamis device in the permit issued on Tuesday. The Pelamis, which resembles a series of giant redwood log segments on a string, is the only currently viable commercial technology. The company has said it would use only the most seasoned technology.

The issuance is apparently based on an about face made by GreenWave in documents submitted to FERC but not available on the public Website with the rest of the filings.

The permit says 10 to 100 Pelamis devices will be used, having a total installed capacity of 100 megawatts. Connecting the project to shore will be a 2- to 3-mile-long, 36 kilovolt transmission line,

The project site begins a half mile offshore and extends to 2.6 miles from shore in water depths that range from 120 to 390 feet, the GreenWave application says.

Local governments, groups and even residents now have a chance to file motions of intervention, which allows the intervener to play an official role in the process.

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KEVIN FERGUSON, The Information Week, November 24, 2008

1739725132_460c52d56dWhere is President-elect Barack Obama headed with environmental protection and renewable energy? The answer lies not so much in the encouraging but ultimately self-serving video posted on the transition team’s Web site, but rather on links elsewhere on the page. In particular, look at the appointment of senior transition official Rose McKinney-James as FERC Review Team Lead.

Unless you live in California or Nevada, you may not be familiar with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  FERC — a relatively tiny agency that requested only $273.4 million and 1,465 full-time employees in its FY 2009 budget — regulates the country’s natural gas industry, hydroelectric projects, oil pipelines, and wholesale rates for electricity. You may recall that public advocacy groups excoriated FERC for its role in the deregulation of the wholesale electricity market in California and subsequent power crisis in 2000 and 2001.

So, what’s the significance of this recent appointment? McKinney-James, managing principal of Energy Works Consulting, has been championing renewable energy for decades, as the president and CEO of the public Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources (CSTRR), chair of the Nevada Renewable Energy Task Force, commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission, and other pubic posts.

Her efforts also have included renewable energy advocacy in the private sector — and in some rather unexpected places. The most visible of those places is MGM Mirage’s  Protech CityCenter in Las Vegas. McKinney-James sits on the MGM board.

The $7 billion development was recently awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Project CityCenter includes a 4,000-room hotel-casino, two 400-room boutique hotels, more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, and 2,900 residential units on 66 acres between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo.

Perhaps McKinney-James can accelerate what has been a slow accommodation of renewable energy sources into FERC’s mix.

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MendoCoastCurrent, November 18, 2007

Developing Wave Energy in Coastal California: Potential Socio-Economic and Environmental Effects, authored by a team of scientists from H.T. Harvey and Associates, UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Santa Cruz, the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research, Planwest Partners and Humboldt State University, and jointly funded by the California Ocean Protection Council and the California Energy Commission, is now available for free download at www.resources.ca.gov/copc/.

In a letter announcing the report, California Secretary of State Mike Chrisman notes it reviews the social, economic and environmental issues associated with wave energy technologies in California, and identifies specific research needed to further evaluate its potential effects. He adds that it also identifies the largest information gaps in these social and ecological disciplines: environmental economics, nearshore physical processes, nearshore intertidal and benthic habitats, and the ecology of marine and anadromous fishes, marine birds and marine mammals.

At over 200-pages, MendoCoastCurrent is now digesting the long-awaited read.

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MendoCoastCurrent, November 9, 2008

frankhartzellMendoCoastCurrent applauds Frank Hartzell’s reporting in the Fort Bragg Advocate-News and the Mendocino Beacon, and in winning reporting awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest for work published in 2007. The awards were recently announced at CNPA’s annual awards luncheon in late October 2008.

Reporter Frank Hartzell’s on-going, in-depth and insightful coverage of the Mendocino coast’s wave energy development projects won First Place for Environmental & Agricultural Resource Reporting among weeklies with small circulations.

Mr. Hartzell is a key community forerunner in informing and deciphering both technological and governmental policies, developments and environmental impact(s) of the forward-moving ocean power technology developments on the Mendocino coast.  Many now consider Fort Bragg and the Mendocino coast “Ground Zero” in U.S. wave energy commercial development.

Mark Massara, head of the California Coastal Program for the Sierra Club, credited Mr. Hartzell’s coverage as the only in-depth information about wave energy being written.  And local people have generated the only viable criticism of the process, he said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a key player in federal energy policy, has extensively quoted Mr. Hartzell’s coverage, even cataloging and creating timelines from his authored newspaper articles.

Thank you, Frank Hartzell, for your superb work in researching and educating the Mendocino coast community in wave energy developments and in supporting us to act from knowledge in our role as environmental stewards.

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MATT NAUMAN, San Jose Mercury News, October 27, 2008

The California Public Utilities Commission rejected a Pacific Gas & Electric contract for wave energy, saying the utility was going to pay too much for a technology that’s still largely experimental.

Last December, PG&E said it would be the first utility in the nation to get energy from ocean waves after signing a power purchase agreement with Finavera Renewables, which planned to operate a “wave farm” about 21/2 miles off the coast of Eureka. The deal was for 2 megawatts of power starting in 2012.

But the California PUC this month nixed the deal, saying wave energy technology was “in a nascent stage” and that Finavera’s system was “not currently viable.” The commission noted that a prototype buoy deployed by Finavera off the Oregon coast in 2007 sank before its six week test period was concluded.

The CPUC, which oversees power deals and rate hikes from the state’s big utilities, also said the San Francisco utility was going to pay too high a price for the wave-energy contract. The financial terms of power deals are not released publicly.

“We respectfully disagree with the decision,” PG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Zerwer said. The utility will continue to pursue wave energy projects, she said, including through its Emerging Renewables Resource Program proposal that would fund two wave projects off the Mendocino County and Humboldt County coast that’s currently waiting PUC approval.

In a letter to the PUC, Brian Cherry, PG&E’s vice president of regulatory relations, said the rejection of the deal would have “a chilling effect on wave development in California.” The rejection will send wave companies to states other than California, he wrote.

Finavera Renewables, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, said the decision puts California “out of step” with the policies of the federal government, other states and cities. CEO Jason Bak said Finavera would try to form a private wave-energy consortium to diversify the risk and attract more funding for wave-energy technology. He also said the company would now focus on its wind projects in Canada and Ireland.

A report released Monday suggested that wave energy has great potential to be a source of renewable power. While only about 10 megawatts of ocean power have been installed worldwide to date, a report by researcher Greentech Media and the nonprofit Prometheus Institute found that could grow to 1 gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) of power by 2015. In California, 1 megawatt of power is enough to provide electricity for 750 homes.

More than $4 billion will be invested in ocean-wave research and the construction of wave farms over the next six years, the report says.

Daniel Englander, co-author of that report, doesn’t see the CPUC decision as a death blow for wave energy projects. “PG&E picked the wrong company,” he said. “Finavera isn’t a bad company, it’s just that their technology isn’t at a stage where it’s ready to deliver power commercially.”

Still, he expects several companies will have production-ready ocean power systems capable of delivering 2 megawatts or more within five years.

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MendoCoastCurrent, October 16, 2008

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) claimed that it has jurisdiction over hydroelectric projects located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), pointing to laws that define its role.

FERC addressed the jurisdictional question, raised by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Mineral Management Service (MMS), in the context of a rehearing order on two preliminary permits issued to PG&E to study the feasibility of developing wave energy projects in the OCS off the California coast. The projects are the Humboldt Project off the coast of the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt County near Eureka, and the Mendocino Project off the coast of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

Commissioner Philip Moeller said the development of viable hydrokinetic resources needs a streamlined process like FERC’s. “It is indisputable that renewable energy is a valuable resource and hydrokinetic projects could harness a vast resource of new hydropower,” he said. “Instead of legal battles, my preference, and this Commission’s, has been to reach out to federal agencies and states to work in a cooperative manner to the same goal: timely development of a new renewable power resource in a responsible manner after input from all affected stakeholders.”

MMS has asserted that FERC only has jurisdiction to issue licenses and preliminary permits for projects within state waters, which for most states is defined as extending three miles offshore. Projects beyond state waters are considered to be located in the OCS.

But FERC says the Federal Power Act (FPA) gives it two bases of authority to issue preliminary permits and licensees for hydroelectric projects located on the OCS. First, the law expressly grants FERC jurisdiction to license in “navigable waters” without limitation as well as in “streams or other bodies of water over which Congress has jurisdiction.” 

The second authority is for those projects located on “reservations” of the United States. FERC concludes that the OCS is land owned by the United States, qualifying it to be a “reservation” under the FPA. “The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently held that the United States owns the submerged lands off its shores, beginning from the low-water mark,” FERC said.

Finally, FERC addressed comments by MMS about the meaning of the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) as it relates to the jurisdiction question for hydroelectric projects located on the OCS. MMS asserted that EPAct 2005 intended for MMS to be the lead federal regulatory authority over wave and ocean current energy projects in the OCS.

In this order, FERC notes that EPAct 2005 does not limit the scope of its authority over hydroelectric power or withdraw FERC jurisdiction over projects in the OCS. “To the contrary, Congress expressly preserved the Commission’s comprehensive hydroelectric licensing authority under the FPA by including two saving clauses….,” FERC said.

FERC Chairman Kelliher stressed today that FERC recognizes the role of Interior, which through the Minerals Management Service (MMS) manages lands on the OCS. There is no conflict with FERC’s role as the licensing agency, he said.

“We have proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MMS that carefully delineates the roles of the two agencies in a manner that respects both our licensing, and Interior’s resource, roles,” Kelliher said. “We stand ready to enter into the MOU to clarify those roles.”

A preliminary permit gives the holder of a permit priority over the site for three years while the holder studies the feasibility of developing the site. It does not authorize construction of any kind. A license authorizes construction and operation of a hydroelectric facility.

FERC’s order also finds that although two local governments, the City of Fort Bragg and Mendocino County, asserted that they did not receive personal notification from FERC of the filing of the preliminary permit applications, only Mendocino County acted in a timely manner once it received actual notice of the application in order to preserve its right to intervene. As a result, Mendocino County’s request for late intervention is granted. However, the order finds that Mendocino has not provided grounds for the Commission to revoke the Mendocino Project permit or to reopen that proceeding. The order also denies motions for late intervention in both proceedings by FISH Committee.

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KATE GALBRAITH, The New York Times, September 23, 2008

For years, technological visionaries have painted a seductive vision of using ocean tides and waves to produce power. They foresee large installations off the coast and in tidal estuaries that could provide as much as 10% of the nation’s electricity.

But the technical difficulties of making such systems work are proving formidable. Last year, a wave-power machine sank off the Oregon coast. Blades have broken off experimental tidal turbines in New York’s turbulent East River. Problems with offshore moorings have slowed the deployment of snakelike generating machines in the ocean off Portugal.

Years of such problems have discouraged ocean-power visionaries, but have not stopped them. Lately, spurred by rising costs for electricity and for the coal and other fossil fuels used to produce it, they are making a new push to overcome the barriers blocking this type of renewable energy.

The Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power plans to turn on a small wave-energy farm — the world’s first — off the coast of Portugal by year’s end, after fixing the broken moorings. Finavera Renewables, a Canadian company that recently salvaged its sunken, $2.5 million Oregon wave-power machine, has signed an agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric to produce power off the California coast by 2012. And in the East River, just off Manhattan, two newly placed turbines with tougher blades and rotors are feeding electricity into a grocery store and parking garage on Roosevelt Island.

“It’s frustrating sometimes as an ocean energy company to say, yeah, your device sank,” said Jason Bak, chief executive of Finavera. “But that is technology development.”

Roughly 100 small companies around the world are working on converting the sea’s power to electricity. Many operate in Europe, where governments have pumped money into the industry. Companies and governments alike are betting that over time, costs will come down. Right now, however, little electricity is being generated from the ocean except at scattered test sites around the world.

The East River — despite its name, it is really a tidal strait with powerful currents — is the site of the most advanced test project in the United States.

Verdant Power, the company that operates it, was forced to spend several years and millions of dollars mired in a slow permit process, even before its turbine blades broke off in the currents. The company believes it is getting a handle on the problems. Verdant is trying to perfect its turbines and then install 30 of them in the East River, starting no later than spring 2010, and to develop other sites in Canada and on the West Coast.

Plenty of other start-ups also plan commercial ocean-power plants, at offshore sites such as Portugal, Oregon and Wales, but none have been built.

Ocean-power technology splits into two broad categories, tidal and wave power. Wave power, of the sort Finavera is pursuing, entails using the up and down motions of the waves to generate electricity. Tidal power — Verdant’s province — involves harnessing the action of the tides with underwater turbines, which twirl like wind machines.

(Decades-old tidal technologies in France and Canada use barrage systems that trap water at high tide; they are far larger and more obtrusive than the new, below-waterline technologies.)

A third type of power, called ocean thermal, aims to exploit temperature differences between the surface and deep ocean, mainly applicable in the tropics.

Ocean power has more potential than wind power because water is about 850 times denser than air, and therefore packs far more energy. The ocean’s waves, tides and currents are also more predictable than the wind.

The drawback is that seawater can batter and corrode machinery, and costly undersea cables may be needed to bring the power to shore. And the machines are expensive to build: Pelamis has had to raise the equivalent of $77 million.

Many solar start-ups, by contrast, need as little as $5 million to build a prototype, said Martin Lagod, co-founder of Firelake Capital Management, a Silicon Valley investment firm. Mr. Lagod looked at investing in ocean power a few years ago and decided against it because of the long time horizons and large capital requirements.

General Electric, which builds wind turbines, solar panels and other equipment for virtually every other type of energy, has stayed clear of ocean energy. “At this time, these sources do not appear to be competitive with more scalable alternatives like wind and solar,” said Daniel Nelson, a G.E. spokesman, in an e-mail message. (An arm of G.E. has made a small investment in Pelamis.)

Worldwide, venture capital going to ocean-power companies has risen from $8 million in 2005 to $82 million last year, according to the Cleantech Group, a research firm. However, that is a tiny fraction of the money pouring into solar energy and biofuels.

This month the Energy Department doled out its first major Congressionally-funded grants since 1992 to ocean-power companies, including Verdant and Lockheed Martin, which is studying ocean thermal approaches.

Assuming that commercial ocean-power farms are eventually built, the power is likely to be costly, especially in the near term. A recent study commissioned by the San Francisco Public Utility Commission put the cost of harnessing the Golden Gate’s tides at 85 cents to $1.40 a kilowatt-hour, or roughly 10 times the cost of wind power. San Francisco plans to forge ahead regardless.

Other hurdles abound, including sticky environmental and aesthetic questions. In Oregon, crabbers worry that the wave farm proposed by Ocean Power Technologies, a New Jersey company, would interfere with their prime crabbing grounds.

“It’s right where every year we deploy 115,000 to 120,000 crab pots off the coast for an eight-month period to harvest crab,” said Nick Furman, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. The commission wants to support renewable energy, but “we’re kind of struggling with that,” Mr. Furman said

George Taylor, chief executive of Ocean Power Technologies, said he did not expect “there will be a problem with the crabs.”

In Washington State, where a utility is studying the possibility of installing tidal power at the Admiralty Inlet entrance to Puget Sound, scuba divers are worried, even as they recognize the need for clean power.

Said Mike Racine, president of the Washington Scuba Alliance: “We don’t want to be dodging turbine blades, right?”

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Excerpts from FRANK HARTZELL’s article in the Fort Bragg Advocate-News, September 18, 2008

PG&E “expects to be granted $1.2 million this week by the U.S. Department of Energy to study wave energy off Fort Bragg and Eureka” and is seeking “the new money earlier this summer to move its local wave energy study under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit to the commercial stage. In order to complete that study and get test equipment into the water, the Department of Energy grant is needed, PG&E says.”

“The most recent news of the federal Department of Energy grant will be a study undertaken by the utility as part of a team that includes Humboldt State University and the University of Texas at Austin. PG&E hopes the money will eventually make the project commercially viable.”

“PG&E believes there is potential to generate renewable, emission free, environmentally benign, and cost effective energy from wave energy at selected sites in the PG&E service territory in Northern California, and that successful wave energy demonstration may enable significant commercial development resulting in important benefits for both the Northern California region and the country,” the grant application by the utility states.”

“Clearly, PG&E needs to do in-water testing for wave energy to be viable. FERC’s preliminary permit process no longer allows for that to happen. FERC anticipates issuing a license to PG&E for wave energy off Humboldt next spring. A license would allow in-water testing and even legal power generation.”

PG&E’s objective is “to conduct in-water testing and evaluation of commercial/near-commercial WEC [wave energy converter] technology representative of what would be expected to be used in a commercial-scale power plant. This will enable PG&E to make an informed evaluation of WEC technology as to whether, and to what extent, wave energy should be included in PG&E’s energy portfolio, while simultaneously facilitating the commercial development of this new industry,” the PG&E application states.

“PG&E is the primary proposing organization and its project team includes CH2MHill, EPRI, University of Texas at Austin, Humboldt State University and other contractors to be named later.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, September 9, 2008

Fort Bragg, California City Council has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Concerns escalated last August when FERC denied Fort Bragg’s second request for a rehearing on FERC’s national licensing policies for wave energy or hydrokinetic energy projects. The community stakeholders, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, Lincoln County (Oregon) and Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics (FISH), were also denied rehearing by FERC. Under the Federal Power Act, there are no administrative appeals left and the only recourse is a lawsuit.

Fort Bragg contests FERC’s energy development process for national licensing of wave energy projects, including the proposed Pacific Gas & Electric wave energy pilot project off the coast of Fort Bragg.

The contested policies were established in two informal documents issued by FERC in April 2008 entitled Staff Guidance on Hydrokinetic Pilot Procedures” and “Staff FAQs on Conditional Licenses.”

Fort Bragg contends that FERC established these policies without complying with a number of federal laws including the Coastal Zone Management Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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Excerpts from FRANK HARTZELL’s article at the Mendocino Beacon, September 4, 2008

PG&E decided last week not to be the national test case for the Minerals Management Service’s wave energy program.

Just two weeks earlier, the utility officially filed paperwork to pursue those same far offshore wave energy leases. None of the filings have yet been provided to this newspaper by PG&E, or presented to the public locally.

Why such a quick change of mind?

“In early August we said yes to enter into negotiations for the (MMS) Mendocino project,” said PG&E spokeswoman Jana Morris. “Within the following three weeks we hoped there would be change to the economic and commercial terms of the interim lease, which did not occur.

“At that point we made the decision to stop negotiations until the final rules are made available,” said Morris.

Minerals Management Service officials did not respond to questions about what they will do next, now that their test case is gone.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) believes it must charge private companies and promote competition for leases of public resources — which the competing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gives to the first company in line at no direct cost.

After no competing firms emerged by the May 19 deadline, the MMS abandoned the idea of competitive bidding and proposed charging $3 per acre annually to lease the areas.

“PG&E has concluded that the project costs, including the significant rental fees, of going forward under an interim lease are unacceptably high, particularly in light of the absence of any competitive advantage at the commercial leasing stage,” said Morris.

AND

Recent Offshore Development Timeline

  • April — MMS releases its interim alternative energy application process. The MMS picks one site for each kind of energy proposed to be generated on the Outer Continental Shelf, wave, current, tide and wind. PG&E’s twin projects in Fort Bragg and Eureka are the wave energy choice.
  • May — When no other developer applies for the 200 square miles of ocean that PG&E has claimed off Eureka and Fort Bragg, the MMS proposes a $3 per acre annual fee.
  • August 1 — MMS announces a new initiative to open more areas to offshore oil drilling. Email and regular mail public comments are being taken through Sept. 5 on what areas should be opened.
  • August 6 — PG&E officially applies for the new MMS leases at $3 per acre.
  • August 15 — MMS holds a seminar in San Francisco to explain the new alternative energy process. PG&E attends.
  • August 26 — Mendocino County moves ahead with suing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, over its wave energy process.
  • August 26 — PG&E reverses its position of August 6 and announces it won’t pursue the interim leases, instead waiting until MMS finishes its rulemaking process later in 2008 or early 2009.
  • August 29 — PG&E files a six-month progress report with FERC. The company claims a large amount of local outreach in the report, naming numerous public meetings it has held. The company has revealed little or no new information at any of those meetings. The status report also mentions the company collaborated with two universities in June on filing a request with the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • August 31 — California State Senate passes a joint resolution asking Congress to renew the federal waters Outer Continental Shelf offshore drilling moratorium. This resolution, AJR 51, authored by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, had been passed by the California State Assembly earlier this summer.
  • September and October — Congress must pass new annual moratorium for protections off the Mendocino Coast and much of the East and West Coasts to continue. Republicans nationally make creating new drilling wherever possible a key campaign issue. A rival GOP plan would open up only certain Eastern states and new areas in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.

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GABE MELINE, Bohemia.com, September 3, 2008

While presidential candidates call for alternative forms of energy and “sustainable” is the word of the year, the idea of ocean-wave buoys along the Sonoma and Marin coast continues to attract attention as a potentially viable form of energy.

Though no firm proposal is in place, the wheels have been turning toward what some are already calling a “West Coast wave energy gold rush.” The county of Sonoma, in fact, has already submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to lease an area of the ocean off the Sonoma Coast to oversee wave-energy development.

Dan Howard, superintendent of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, agrees that ocean waves, like the wind and the sun, are a natural energy source which until recently has gone widely untapped. Still, the rush may be a long way off. “I would call it an experimental technology,” he says. “It’s safe to say, I think, it’s years away from any kind of implementation.”

Earlier this year, the Cordell Bank Sanctuary held a panel discussion with representatives from the buoy energy industry, the marine fisheries and environmental groups. “You start running into issues related to migrations—the grey whales, of course, are the first that come to mind,” Howard says. “The fishing industry, certainly, you’d have to work something out with the local commerce if it affected vessel traffic in any way. There are lots of conversations that need to occur.”

The concept of the wave-energy buoy has been implemented most successfully in Portugal, where the Aguçadora Wave Park, with its snakelike buoys, built in 2005 near Póvoa de Varzim, has been widely hailed a commercial success. Last year in Oregon, a different prototype of buoy was tested off the coast, measuring 72 feet tall and weighing 35 tons. Using a fixed coil with a floating magnetic field, the device would generate voltage with the rising and falling of the waves as the coil moves up and down inside the magnetic field.

The idea has been gaining currency. On Sept. 23, the West Coast Governors’ Agreement—a collaborative group between the governors of California, Oregon and Washington united to preserve ocean health—will host a meeting in Portland, Ore., to discuss with the public the development of wave and tidal energy activities on the West Coast. PG&E has already eyed the Mendocino Coast as a location to study hydrokinetic projects.

With all eyes on renewable energy, and with engineers working on different types of buoys, could we be on the crest of new source of energy? “I think the vast majority of people in the United States would support development of alternative-energy sources, certainly,” Howard says. “How we go about doing that, and doing it in the most environmentally sensitive and safe way, is the trick.”

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MendoCoastCurent, August 12, 2008

Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its latest denial for a rehearing on the Mendocino Wave Energy project on the Northern California coast.

The denied Petitioners include Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics (FISH) with Attorney Elizabeth Mitchell, Mendocino County, Fort Bragg, Lincoln County in Oregon and others representing concerned citizens, local city/county governments as well as local fishermen wishing to be party to wave energy development on the Mendocino coast.

In this power showdown, where federal energy policymakers are swiftly moving towards the deployment, testing and exploration of wave energy generating devices on the Mendocino coast, FERC has made it clear that they do not wish to have local and community involvement or participation, period.

And the implications of this denial are far reaching as it appears this Mendocino coast wave energy development project shall be ‘ground zero’ as the first U.S. wave energy project to explore wave energy policymaking, development, deployment and generation (the Makah Bay project is located off Native American lands in the state of Washington).

Before reading on, please take a look at FERC Denial Order: HERE The language of the Order is indecipherable to a layperson. One wonders what this order actually states.

From a more general view, the Petitioners’ have sought to become full-fledged participants in matters related to wave energy projects licensing and development on the Mendocino coast. The local groups, local governments and concerned citizenry of Fort Bragg are also calling for appropriate environmental studies/testing before deployment.

The Mendocino coast continues to inspire locals as well as visitors from around the world with its dramatic beauty, its richness in bounty, its rugged, wildness…and its awesome power. Mendocino locals wish to share this reverence and general knowledge, their oceanic and micro-climate experience…and contribute their knowledge toward a successful and environmentally-benign test of today’s nascent wave energy technology.

It is MendoCoastCurrent’s view, and possibly not a popular one, that appropriate and environmentally-benign wave energy technologies may be developed and successfully implemented. There are literally hundreds of different wave devices available today. Straight out the shoot, many are inappropriate for the Mendocino coast due to sea depth and upswell, some devices are simply pipedreams while others may be suitable — meaning, a device that may sustainably work within the harsh ocean environment, not diminish the sea flora/fauna, sea creatures or man and beneficial in scaling electrical energy output.

Yet in this FERC Denial it’s clear that FERC does not seek the necessary dialog and community ownership that will enable this project’s success.

Additionally, FERC is in the process of developing wave energy ‘conditioned licenses’ to streamline development and FERC has chosen to not incorporate rulemaking (allowing public input) in developing their licensing policies. An associate federal agency, the Mineral Management Service (MMS) that rules beyond the FERC three-mile limit to 200 miles out to sea (the outer continental shelf) is now in ‘rulemaking’ process for hydrokinetic projects. Thus, MMS is asking for comments to be submitted by September 8, 2008…see article here with MMS links to share your comments.

 

MendoCoastCurrent awaits local responses, legal analyses and federal energy policymakers’ next steps.

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MADDALENA JACKSON with MendoCoastCurrent edit, The Sacramento Bee, August 11, 2008

Oil companies, some politicians and commuters paying $4 for a gallon of gas might look at California’s coast and think of crude oil pooled below the sea floor.

California’s North Coast, however, holds promise of another energy bounty.

In less time than it would take to fire up new offshore oil drills, waters off our coast could host undulating buoys driven by waves, producing abundant electricity for a power-thirsty state.

The Electric Power Research Institute estimates enough wave power can be extracted from coastal waters to account for about 15% of California’s electricity production.

Offshore wave technology is promising, but it’s untried. They also raise concerns about potential damage to the coast’s prized vistas and fish industry.

One proposal that’s progressing is to draw electricity from waves off the Mendocino coast already has generated problems for developers, government agencies and coastal residents.

Moreover, the potential for waves depends on someone building transmission lines to connect offshore power to the state’s grid.

Northern California’s biggest utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., may be that someone.

Out at sea, the ocean’s surface ripples rhythmically, and the up-and-down motion can be harnessed to produce electrical energy, via bobbing buoys, jointed snakes and undulating tubes.

PG&E plans to capture some of that potential. It has preliminary permits for two projects – one off Fort Bragg in Mendocino County and one off Eureka.

The Fort Bragg project, expected to yield 40 megawatts of electricity, would be “an undersea power plug,” said PG&E project manager Bill Toman. It “would provide about 20% of electricity consumption of Mendocino County.”

PG&E would build the expensive transmission lines. The utility would select three or four developers to test their power generators.

Results will lead to “a decision about whether we would build our own wave energy farm,” he said.

Mendocino coast residents are examining PG&E’s plans with cautious concern.

“Wave energy sounds like a good idea, as long as it doesn’t harm the environment,” said Bruce Lewis, a nature photographer and volunteer light-keeper at the Point Cabrillo Light Station. “Using the power of the waves seems like a better way of generating power than building oil platforms off the coast.”

Others are wary. “When you first hear about it, you think, ‘That’s a great idea!’ ” said Jim Martin, director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

He’s concerned wave power may interfere with fisheries. He wonders if electrical signatures from the devices also might disturb fish.

His biggest complaint right now, however, is that local fishermen and residents have had no say in the planning.

Martin is also associated with Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics, or FISH. With local lawyer Elizabeth Mitchell, FISH is battling for a role in the planning.

A federal deadline has passed for gaining an official voice in the legal planning for the wave projects, alongside PG&E and federal energy regulators.

Mitchell has filed a request for a belated entree with the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission. She argues that an isolated community, with limited high-speed Internet service, and few residents who even know what FERC is, could not have met the deadline.

Mitchell said she’s concerned that permits have been granted without environmental analysis or even identified technology. “We are guinea pigs for a worldwide science experiment without any rational planning.”

PG&E’s permit comes from FERC. But there is a question over wave power jurisdiction. The federal Minerals Management Service has jurisdiction from three to 200 miles offshore, and by years end hopes to have rules in place for alternative energy leases, said spokesman John Romero.

FERC, however, oversees onshore hydropower applications and has claimed jurisdiction for wave technology up to 12 miles offshore, based on its reading of legal documents.

“It’s a problem for anyone in charge of proposing a project,” PG&E’s Toman said. “At some point, it will hold things up.”

A delay would be welcome, Martin said. “A huge reason people come up here is to look at the ocean, and to reconnect with nature.”

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JOHN DRISCOLL, The Times-Standard, July 24, 2008

The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has cleared another hurdle toward developing wave energy projects off the Humboldt and Mendocino county coasts.

Recently the U.S. Minerals Management Service announced that it would go forward with analyzing limited leases for alternative energy projects on the outer continental shelf. It follows a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant preliminary permits to PG&E for the project, which envisions eight to 200 wave energy devices somewhere from two to 10 miles offshore.

FERC oversees such projects within three miles of the coast, while the Minerals Management Service has jurisdiction beyond that.

The process for issuing limited leases under an interim policy formed in November 2007 will entail “thorough environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and related laws, as well as close consultation with federal, state and local government agencies,” the service said in a press release.

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council wrote to the Minerals Management Service in June expressing concern that multiple wave test projects could have cumulative effects on sea life and the commercial fishing fleet. The potential effects should be evaluated at an “ecosystem scale” before projects are installed, the letter reads.

The Mineral Management Service leases will allow PG&E to collect information for potential commercial projects in the future.

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DAVID R. BAKER, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 2008

The U.S. Interior Department ratcheted up the pressure on Congress Wednesday to open more of the country’s coastline to offshore oil drilling, a move petroleum companies have sought for decades.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said his department will lay the groundwork for selling undersea oil-drilling leases on the outer continental shelf, including areas now protected by a congressional ban. Republicans are pushing hard to end the moratorium, which was imposed in 1982 and covers most of the East and West coasts.

The Interior Department has no authority to lift the ban. But if Congress votes to open the coasts to drilling, the department could hit the ground running, selling leases as early as 2011. Exploratory drilling would probably begin a few years after that.

“Americans continue to struggle with high gas prices, and it’s important that we do more to develop domestic sources of energy,” Kempthorne said.

As a first step, the Interior Department will solicit comments from oil companies, state governors, environmental groups and others as to which specific stretches of seafloor should be leased for drilling. The department will consider areas that are already open – such as the Gulf of Mexico – as well as those that aren’t.

The move pleased oil industry groups as well as politicians who want more offshore oil production.

“We’ve got to get off foreign oil. We’ve got to use our own domestic production,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona (Riverside County), who introduced legislation this month to lift the moratorium. He said royalties from oil pumped off the California coast could be a boon to state government.

“I think it’s a better solution than raising taxes,” Calvert said. “Why don’t we take advantage of the resources we know we have and help address the structural deficit problem in California?”

But leading congressional Democrats remain adamantly opposed to lifting the ban. They note that most of the estimated oil reserves on the outer continental shelf – about 79% – lie in areas that are already open to drilling.

“This is nothing more than a political stunt to divert attention from the high gas prices that have resulted from having two oil men in the White House,” California Sen. Barbara Boxer said Wednesday.

Environmental groups also panned the Interior Department plan. Like the congressional Democrats, they want the nation to invest more heavily in alternative energy sources and start weaning itself off oil.

“There’s simply no way, with 2% of the world’s oil reserves, that you can solve our problems by drilling” on the outer continental shelf, said Jim Presswood, an energy issues advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Interior Department officials said Wednesday that they also want to increase the development of alternative energy sources offshore. For two years, the department has studied leasing portions of the outer continental shelf to companies that want to build offshore windmills or install buoys that generate electricity as they bob up and down on the waves.

PG&E has proposed two such wave energy projects off the coasts of Humboldt and Mendocino counties.

The Interior Department’s alternative energy effort will dovetail with the new push on offshore oil drilling, Kempthorne said.

“Alternative energy development and traditional energy development are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

Although the department will ask for comments from governors, that doesn’t mean the governors would be able to veto offshore drilling in federal waters near their states. States control the waters within 3 miles of shore, but can’t directly control development farther out.

Kempthorne and other Interior Department officials emphasized on Wednesday their desire to work with the governors. But they said Congress would have to determine how much authority to give the states should legislators lift the drilling moratorium.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes offshore drilling. This week, the Republican governor touted an agreement with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington to work together to protect the coastal environment, an agreement that includes rejecting offshore oil drilling.

“The governor understands that people are frustrated with the soaring price of gas, but in California, we know offshore drilling is not the answer,” said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Lisa Page.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 9, 2008

ACT NOW! – ‘MMS Rulemaking’ Public Review & Comments Accepted Thru September 8, 2008

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that will regulate alternative energy production activities and alternate uses of existing facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The proposed rule is accompanied by a draft environmental assessment analyzing the potential environmental effects of the rulemaking in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

MMS conducting ‘rulemaking’ to establish a program to grant leases, easements, and rights-of-way (ROW) for orderly, safe, and environmentally responsible alternative energy project activities and alternate uses of existing facilities on the OCS. The rule will also establish methods for sharing revenues generated by this program with nearby coastal States.

“This proposed rule would establish formally the framework for developing wind, wave, ocean current, solar and other renewable energy sources on America’s Outer Continental Shelf,” Assistant Secretary Stephen C. Allred said. “With this important step we can add to our ability to reduce our reliance on foreign energy by making the best use of our own domestic resources in a safe and environmentally sensitive way.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized MMS to establish the OCS Alternative Energy and Alternate Use (AEAU) Program. Alternative energy includes, but is not limited to wind, wave, solar, ocean current and generation of hydrogen. Alternate uses of existing facilities may include aquaculture, research, education, recreation or support for offshore operations and facilities.

The process for completing the rulemaking began after the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued in December of 2005. The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) was issued in November of 2007. This was followed by the release of the Record of Decision for the Final PEIS in January of 2008. The next step in the process, after the 60-day comment period on today’s proposed rule ends, will be the release of the Final Rule and final environmental assessment. The Final Rule is expected to be complete by December 2008.

Publisher’s Note: The MMS is seeking your comments on rulemaking for alternative energy projects…here’s their description: “The MMS is proposing regulations that would establish a program to authorize and manage alternative energy project activities on the OCS, as well as certain previously unauthorized activities that involve the alternate use of existing facilities located on the OCS; and would establish the methods for sharing revenues generated by this program with nearby coastal states”

Wish to Comment?

The proposed rule and draft environmental assessment invite public comments from interested parties by one of two methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal. Under the tab “More Search Options,” click Advanced Docket Search, then select “Minerals Management Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click “submit.” In the Docket ID column, select MMS-2008-OEMM-0012 (you may need to go to the page 2 to locate) for submitting your public comments and viewing supporting/related materials available for this rulemaking.

2. Mailing your comments to the following address:

Minerals Management Service
Offshore Energy and Minerals Management
Alternative Energy and Alternate Use Team
381 Elden Street Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 8, 2008

Act Now! Related ‘MMS Rulemaking’ Public Review & Comments Accepted Thru September 8, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – The Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that it is proceeding with the consultation and analyses necessary to move toward the issuance of limited leases under its interim policy for authorizing alternative energy data collection and technology testing activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

“This is another important step in the advancement in the OCS Alternative Energy Program,” said MMS Director Randall Luthi. “I am excited about our progress and am looking forward to working with the states and communities to move forward with these proposed activities.”

MMS announced its interim policy in November 2007 to jumpstart basic information gathering efforts relating to development of OCS alternative energy resources such as wind, waves, and ocean currents as authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). The limited leases envisioned under the interim policy will be for a term of five years and will not convey any right or priority for commercial development.

Following the initial announcement, MMS received more than 40 nominations of areas proposed for limited leasing off the west and east coasts. In April MMS identified a subset of 16 proposed lease areas for priority consideration and provided public notice of those areas for the purpose of determining competitive interest as required by EPAct and for receiving relevant environmental or other information. The comment period on the April notice closed on June 30. A brief description of the information received and MMS’s decisions concerning the 16 proposed lease areas follows.

New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia—the 10 lease areas (six off NJ, one off DE, and three off GA) proposed for site assessment activities relating to wind resources drew no competing nominations and no significant comment. MMS will proceed with a noncompetitive leasing process for these sites.

Florida—three of the four lease areas off the southeast coast proposed for site assessment or technology testing activities relating to ocean current resources received competing nominations, and comments concerning the areas were favorable. MMS will proceed with a noncompetitive leasing process for the one site that did not receive competing nominations. Due to timing constraints inherent in the interim policy, as well as bureau budget and staffing considerations, MMS has decided not to proceed with a competitive auction for the other areas. Instead, the competing nominators have been asked to collaborate in order to enable interested parties to jointly benefit in information gathering under leases issued noncompetitively.

California—neither of the two areas off Northern California (Humboldt and Mendocino Counties) proposed for site assessment and technology testing relating to wave resources drew new competing nominations. However, based on two original overlapping nominations in the Humboldt area from the initial Call for Nominations in Nov. 2007, MMS has determined that there is competitive interest in that proposed lease area. MMS also received numerous comments from local stakeholders concerned about potential use conflicts and environmental issues in both areas. For the Mendocino area, MMS has decided to proceed with a noncompetitive leasing process, working with the applicant and local stakeholders to refine the area and scope of proposed activities and to address other local concerns. For the Humboldt area, MMS has decided not to hold a competitive auction and to ask the competing nominators to collaborate. If they agree to collaborate, MMS will proceed with a noncompetitive leasing process as in the Mendocino area.

The process for issuing limited leases under the interim policy will entail thorough environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and related laws, as well as close consultation with federal, state, and local government agencies as required by EPAct.

The limited leases that will be issued under the interim policy will enable the lessees to collect information that will be useful for potential commercial projects in the future under an MMS regulatory program that is in development.

MMS published a proposed OCS alternative energy rulemaking on July 9, 2008. When final, this rule will govern all future commercial OCS alternative energy activities and will apply to any future commercial development in the areas leased under the interim policy. Limited leaseholders wishing to conduct commercial activities will need separate authorization under the final rule that is adopted.

The MMS interim policy is ongoing pending the adoption of a final rule governing OCS alternative energy activity. Interested parties may continue to submit nominations, and MMS may act on other nominations that already have been received or are received in the future.

Publisher’s Note: The MMS is seeking your comments on rulemaking for alternative energy projects…here’s their description: “The MMS is proposing regulations that would establish a program to authorize and manage alternative energy project activities on the OCS, as well as certain previously unauthorized activities that involve the alternate use of existing facilities located on the OCS; and would establish the methods for sharing revenues generated by this program with nearby coastal states”

Wish to Comment?

The proposed rule and draft environmental assessment invite public comments from interested parties by one of two methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal. Under the tab “More Search Options,” click Advanced Docket Search, then select “Minerals Management Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click “submit.” In the Docket ID column, select MMS-2008-OEMM-0012 (you may need to go to the page 2 to locate) for submitting your public comments and viewing supporting/related materials available for this rulemaking.

2. Mailing your comments to the following address:

Minerals Management Service
Offshore Energy and Minerals Management
Alternative Energy and Alternate Use Team
381 Elden Street
Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817

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DAVID R. BAKER, Village Green/SFGate.com, July 23, 2008

Drilling for undersea oil along the east and west coasts has quickly turned into one of America’s loudest political fights, as anyone reading the comments on SFGate can attest. But it’s not the Bush administration’s only plan for offshore energy.

For the past few years, the administration has been studying how to open the coasts to renewable energy projects, things like wave farms and underwater turbines designed to generate electricity by harnessing the tides. The Minerals Management Service — the same federal agency that sells offshore oil leases — has quietly pieced together a program to grant leases for testing renewable energy projects at sea.

On July 23, 2007, the service reported that it would move forward with the lease program, which will include two locations along the northern California coast.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California’s largest utility, wants a lease to study wave power off of Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Oil giant Chevron proposed a similar study along Mendocino but later dropped the project. A smaller company, Marine Sciences of San Diego, is seeking a lease that would cover some of the same offshore areas as PG&E’s Humboldt proposal.

The Minerals Management Service wants PG&E and Marine Sciences to collaborate on the project, rather than grant the two companies overlapping leases. Each lease will cover a specific patch of the ocean and will run for five years. Companies receiving the leases will be allowed to test equipment at sea — equipment such as buoys that generate electricity as they bob up and down on the waves. But the companies will not be allowed to set up commercial operations there.

Before any leases are handed out, the service will continue studying potential environmental pitfalls. Some north coast residents worry that a cluster of power-generating bouys tethered to the seafloor could interfere with fishing or the migration of whales. The service would like to start handing out leases as early as this fall and may be able to do so with some sites on the east coast. But the California leases could easily take longer, said service spokesman John Romero.

“The hope is we can do these things sooner than later, but bottom line, we’re not going to compromise the environmental review process,” he said.

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Publishers Note: In early August 2008, FERC Denied Rehearing the Mendocino Coast related to the following post. This is one in a series of actions that Federal Government has taken to obstruct community involvement and begin the necessary dialog on environmental concerns.

MendoCoastCurrent, July 21, 2008

An alliance of Northern California coast commercial and recreational fishing associations known as Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics (FISH) has announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is extending its time to consider the FISH committee request for public participation and environmental analysis in developing federal licensing regulations for nascent wave energy generation projects.

In this Request for Rehearing to FERC, the FISH committee seeks a public-notice-and-comment rulemaking process for the federal licensing of hydrokinetic (wave energy) FERC energy development projects, implementation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and compliance with other federal laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. Also joining in this request are the County of Mendocino, the City of Fort Bragg, the Recreational Fishing Alliance and Lincoln County, Oregon.

As the Mendocino coast may lead the United States in wave energy generation exploration, it’s evident to the FISH Committee, coastal governments and concerned citizens that there is a need for responsible federal energy development guidelines and practices including national regulations and environmental impact study before any FERC wave energy licenses are issued. These sought-after guidelines and procedures require rulemaking with public participation in tandem with environmental impact analysis through-out the wave energy development process, including the offshore experimental and pilot stages of exploration.

In the past, the FERC response to concerns on wave energy development has been to exclude rulemaking and shun public input. A comment made by FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller and noted in a New York Times article underlines their position, “Let’s get this stuff in the water and find out what it has to offer.”

Unlike FERC, a related federal agency also involved in wave energy development, the Minerals Management Service or MMS, is utilizing a public process to develop regulations for ocean wave energy projects and has completed a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

The project areas of consideration are two wave energy projects proposed for the coast off Mendocino County, one of the most productive marine areas on the West Coast. One proposal covers 68 square miles, and the second covers 17 square miles. Both wave energy projects would require significant exclusion zones in the last remaining fishing grounds off Mendocino County.

“Naturally, fishermen are concerned whenever we hear proposals to close off big areas of the ocean to fishing, but we’re just as concerned about the potential environmental impacts to marine species our fisheries depend on,” said Jim Martin of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), a national grassroots political lobby for saltwater sportfishermen, and one of the founding members of FISH. “We hope FERC uses the extra time it has extended itself to carefully consider these issues and do the right thing.”

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Publisher’s Note: This May 21, 2008 FERC ruling rejects requests of FISH, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County and local stakeholders’ to rehear their right to participate in this wave energy development project. It is noted since onset of the Mendocino wave energy agenda, FERC and PG&E continue to swiftly move toward their goals while intentionally blocking all local, public participation. As wave energy development projects on the U.S. coasts progress, Americans are discovering that FERC’s convoluted wave energy licensing process is ill-defined, biased and discriminates against public participation.

123 FERC ¶ 61,194

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

NOTICE REJECTING REQUEST FOR REHEARING

(May 21, 2008)

On November 30, 2007, the Commission issued a Policy Statement on Conditioned Licenses for Hydrokinetic Projects (Policy Statement) in Docket No. PL08-1-000.1 In the Policy Statement, the Commission set forth a new policy, applicable only to certain hydrokinetic projects, where the Commission will, in appropriate cases, and after the Commission completes its own licensing process, issue conditioned licenses pending action by other entities under federal law. On April 14, 2008, to address questions raised in response to the Policy Statement, the Commission staff issued prepared responses to the list of frequently asked questions (FAQs on Conditioned Licenses) under Docket No. PL08-1-000. Staff also issued Guidance on Hydrokinetic Pilot Projects (the Guidance), on April 14, 2008, in Docket AD07-14-000, in an effort to support the advancement and orderly development of hydrokinetic technologies.

On May 12, 13, and 14, 2008, Elizabeth R. Mitchell and Fisherman Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics (FISH Committee), the City of Fort Bragg, and the Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg, respectively, filed requests for rehearing of the FAQs on Conditioned Licenses and the Guidance. On May 13 and 15, 2008, Lincoln County, Oregon and Mendocino County, California, respectively, filed requests for rehearing joining Ms. Mitchell and FISH Committee. All parties argue that: the Commission should have issued the Guidance only after initiating a public notice and comment rulemaking pursuant to section 553 of the Administrative Procedures Act;2 the Commission did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to prepare a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on the Guidance; and the Commission failed to comply with other laws applicable to the Commission’s licensing process.

As has been previously explained, an order is final, and thus subject to rehearing, only when it imposes an obligation, denies a right, or fixes some legal relationship as the consummation of the administrative process.3 The Guidance and the FAQs on Conditioned Licenses represent only informal advice from Commission staff and do not apply to the specific facts of any particular case, nor do they purport to resolve any specific controversy.4 Indeed, they are not orders of any kind. Therefore, no aggrievement exists and rehearing does not lie.5 Accordingly, the requests for rehearing of the Commission’s Guidance and the FAQs on Conditioned Licenses are rejected.

This notice constitutes final agency action. Requests for rehearing by the Commission of this rejection must be filed within 30 days of the date of issuance of this notice, pursuant to 18 C.F.R. § 385.713 (2007).

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

1 The Policy Statement was published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2007 (72 Fed. Reg. 68,887).

2 5 U.S.C. § 553 (2000) (prescribing notice and comment procedures for informal rulemaking).

3 See City of Fremont v. FERC, 336 F.3d 910, 913-14 (9th Cir. 2003); Papago Tribal Utility Authority v. FERC, 628 F.2d 235, 239 (D.C. Cir. 1980).

4 Parties are free to raise concerns in a specific proceeding when the policy is applied, and the Commission will consider their concerns with respect to the particular facts of the proceeding.

5 Project Decommissioning at Relicensing and Use of Reserved Authority in Hydropower Licenses to Ameliorate Cumulative Impacts, 70 FERC ¶ 61,151 at 61,450 (1995).

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Minerals Management Service, April 17, 2008

Issues Notice to Determine Competitive Interest in Nominated Areas

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service today designated five areas on the Outer Continental Shelf as priority areas for alternative energy research in federal waters.

The five areas are offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Florida and California. The agency is proposing limited, temporary leases in these areas for data collection and technology testing related to wind, wave and ocean current energy development. There will be no commercial energy production activity associated with the proposed leases.
“This is a major step forward in expanding our nation’s energy portfolio,” said MMS Director Randall Luthi during a speech today at the Global Marine Renewable Energy conference in New York. “The information gained from research in these areas will greatly increase our understanding of the vast renewable energy potential just off our coast,” he said.

The agency received over forty nominations for alternative energy research projects in response to a November 2007 Federal Register notice. Of those, 16 could potentially go forward within the five priority areas. Ten of those proposed projects are related to wind energy and would be located in the areas offshore New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia. Four proposals offshore Florida would be related to ocean current energy, and two off Northern California would be related to wave energy. The remaining nominations are still being considered by MMS and decisions will be based on the proposed projects’ viability.

Prior to leases actually being issued or consideration of specific project proposals, the agency must first determine if competitive interest exists for research in the five areas. MMS must also evaluate other information related to those areas such as environmental factors and current commercial activities such as fishing and shipping.

The agency issued a Federal Register notice to be published Friday, April 18 that provides details about the five areas along with instructions for the public to provide comments. Individuals or organizations with competitive interest will have 30 days to provide comments, and the agency will accept public comments on the proposed lease areas for 60 days. The Federal Register notice will be published tomorrow.

The November notice also established interim guidelines for alternative energy research and testing on the OCS. MMS is preparing final regulations for the OCS Alternative Energy and Alternate Use program in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and hopes to publish those regulations by the end of the year.

“We are excited to be moving forward and hope to work with interested and affected parties to advance our knowledge of important offshore energy resources,” stated Director Luthi.

Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:

1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: Under the tab “More Search Options,” click Advanced Docket Search, then select “Minerals Management Service” from the agency drop-down menu, then click “submit.” In the Docket ID column, select MMS-2008-OMM-0020 to submit public comments and to view supporting and related materials available for this rulemaking.

2. Mailing your comments to the following address:

Minerals Management Service
Offshore Minerals Management
Alternative Energy and Alternate Use Team
381 Elden Street
Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized MMS to establish the OCS Alternative Energy and Alternate Use (AEAU) Program. Under this authority, MMS will regulate alternative energy projects and projects that involve the alternate use of existing oil and gas platforms on the OCS. Alternative energy includes, but is not limited to wind, wave, solar, underwater current and generation of hydrogen. Alternate uses of existing facilities may include aquaculture, research, education, recreation, or support for offshore operations and facilities.

Contact: Gary Strasburg, 202-208-3985

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Publisher’s Note: On May 21, 2008 FERC rejected the Requests for Rehearing from Fort Bragg, Mendocino County & FISH. The article below was written before that decision was handed down.

MendoCoastCurrent, May 6, 2008

On May 5, 2008, Mendocino County filed their response to PG&E’s comments related to Mendocino County’s Request for Rehearing on the Wave Energy project off the Mendocino coast. This is the latest filing at FERC in response to PG&E’s bid to explore wave energy on the Mendocino coast near Fort Bragg, California.

Mendocino County’s position is that PG&E brought no new information in their comment about Mendocino’s Request for Rehearing, although the issues around the initial notification on the wave energy preliminary permit are highlighted. Mendocino makes the case that PG&E had no statutory requirement or obligation to notify as the Federal Powers Act places the written notice obligation “squarely with the Commission.”

Originally, PG&E’s commented that there was an ‘extreme delay’ in Mendocino’s seeking the rehearing and Mendocino claims their Motion to Intervene “was filed as soon as possible after the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors was presented with the details of the WaveConnect permit application at its September 19, 2007 meeting.”

So due to the Commission’s failure to meet their own standards with regard to written notice and no basis for PG&E’s position of ‘extreme delay’ in requesting Intervener status, the “only reasonable resolution at this time is rescission” of the preliminary permit.

Mendocino addresses PG&E’s vagueness of the wave energy project description (proposed project locations, number of wave energy converters) in the preliminary permit application and adds that “the local community was denied both the opportunity to investigate the feasibility of a competing applications and a voice regarding the terms and execution of the permit itself.”

Additionally, Mendocino has requested their own requirements for any wave energy project off the Mendocino coast, essentially defining its own process to include more checks and balances as well as transparency of plans and findings to local governments and the public:

  • Within one year of permit issue, PG&E shall submit a plan to FERC and Mendocino that details type, number and location of devices for study within the next five years;
  • PG&E shall provide local government with access to all consultant reports, findings and communications related to environmental impact and other impacts resulting from construction, operation and removal of the proposed project;
  • PG&E shall promptly notify Mendocino if it sets up any obstruction, measuring devices, observable towers or other equipment in permit area;
  • PG&E shall notify Mendocino if it decides to surrender the permit;
  • After consultation with Mendocino, PG&E shall remove any and all equipment constructed or installed within the permit area if it decides to surrender their permit;
  • Within one year of permit issue, PG&E shall submit a plan to FERC and Mendocino detailing removable of all equipment at the end of permit period;
  • PG&E shall give Mendocino all evaluation and monitoring from the proposed research projects and provide regular updates of findings, also making this available to the public;
  • Upon submitting Notice of Intent or Pre-Application Document to [license] the project, PG&E shall provide Mendocino a full description of all alternative project proposals under consideration by PG&E as well as related studies and reasons for accepting or rejecting.

Mendocino states “had the County had an opportunity to intervene in the preliminary permit proceedings, the County would have not only had an opportunity to determine the feasibility of a competing project but the County would have also raised its concerns about the vagueness of the project description and to propose additional permit conditions to clarify the project.”

Mendocino adds its wish to have had ample time to intervene and consider partnering with adjacent counties or private entities regarding a competing application as well as ample time to propose additional permit conditions to meaningfully participate.

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From Green Wombat, May 1, 2008

“Years ago we came to the conclusion that global warming was a problem, it was an urgent problem and the need for action is now. The problem appears to be worse and more imminent today, and the need to take action sooner and take more significant action is greater than ever before” – PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee

The head of one of the nation’s largest utilities seemed to be channeling Al Gore when he met with a half-dozen environmental business writers in the PG&E boardroom in downtown San Francisco. While a lot of top executives talk green these days, for Darbee green has become the business model, one that represents the future of the utility industry in a carbon-constrained age.

As Katherine Ellison wrote in a feature story on PG&E that appeared in the final issue of Business 2.0 magazine last September, California’s large utilities — including Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — are uniquely positioned to make the transition to renewable energy and profit from green power.

First of all, they have no choice. State regulators have mandated that California’s investor-owned utilities obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 with a 33 percent target by 2020. Regulators have also prohibited the utilities from signing long-term contracts for dirty power – i.e. with the out-of-state coal-fired plants that currently supply 20 percent of California’s electricity. Second, PG&E and other California utilities profit when they sells less energy and thus emit fewer greenhouse gases. That’s because California regulators “decouple” utility profits from sales, setting their rate of return based on things like how well they encourage energy efficiency or promote green power.

Still, few utility CEOs have made green a corporate crusade like Darbee has since taking the top job in 2005. And the idea of a staid regulated monopoly embracing technological change and collaborating with the likes of Google and electric car company Tesla Motors on green tech initiatives still seems strange, if not slightly suspicious, to some Northern Californians, especially in left-leaning San Francisco where PG&E-bashing is local sport.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Darbee, 54, sketched a future where being a successful utility is less about building big centralized power plants that sit idle until demand spikes and more about data management – tapping diverse sources of energy — from solar, wind and waves to electric cars — and balancing supply and demand through a smart grid that monitors everything from your home appliances to where you plugged in your car. “I love change, I love innovation,” says Darbee, who came to PG&E after a career in telecommunications and investment banking.

Renewable Energy

“On renewable energy what we’ve seen is the market is thin,” says Darbee. “Demand just from ourselves is greater than supply in terms of reliable, well-funded companies that can provide the service.”

PG&E so far has signed power purchase agreements with three solar startups — Ausra, BrightSource Energy and Solel — for up to 1.6 gigawatts of electricity to be produced by massive solar power plants. Each company is deploying a different solar thermal technology and uncertainty over whether the billion-dollar solar power stations will ultimately be built has prompted PG&E to consider jumping into the Big Solar game itself.

“We’re looking hard at the question of whether we can get into the business ourselves in order to do solar and other forms of renewables on a larger scale,” Darbee says. “Let’s take some of the work that’s been done around solar thermal and see if we can partner with one of the vendors and own larger solar installations on a farm rather than on a rooftop.”

“I like the idea of bringing the balance sheet of a utility, $35 billion in assets, to bear on this problem,” he adds.

It’s an approach taken by the renewable energy arm of Florida-based utility FPL, which has applied to build a 250-megawatt solar power plant on the edge of the Mojave Desert in California.

For now, PG&E is placing its biggest green bets on solar and wind. The utility has also signed a 2-megawatt deal with Finavera Renewables for a pilot wave energy project off the Northern California coast. Given the power unleashed by the ocean 24/7, wave energy holds great promise, Darbee noted, but the technology is in its infancy. “How does this technology hold up against the tremendous power of the of the Pacific Ocean?”

Electric Cars

Darbee is an auto enthusiast and is especially enthusiastic about electric vehicles and their potential to change the business models of both the utility and car industries. (At Fortune’s recent Brainstorm Green conference, Darbee took Think Global’s all-electric Think City Coupe for a spin and participated in panels on solar energy and the electric car.)

California utilities look at electric cars and plug-in hybrids as mobile generators whose batteries can be tapped to supply electricity during peak demand to avoid firing up expensive and carbon-spewing power plants. If thousands of electric cars are charged at night they also offer a possible solution to the conundrum of wind power in California, where the breeze blows most strongly in the late evenings when electricity demand falls, leaving electrons twisting in the wind as it were.

“If these cars are plugged in we would be able to shift the load from wind at night to using wind energy during the day through batteries in the car,” Darbee says.

The car owner, in other words, uses wind power to “fill up” at night and then plugs back into the grid during the day at work so PG&E can tap the battery when temperatures rise and everyone cranks up their air conditioners.

Darbee envisions an electricity auction market emerging when demand spikes. “You might plug your car in and say, ‘I’m available and I’m watching the market and you bid me on the spot-market and I’ll punch in I’m ready to sell at 17 cents a kilowatt-hour,” he says. “PG&E would take all the information into its computers and then as temperatures come up there would be a type of Dutch auction and we start to draw upon the power that is most economical.”

That presents a tremendous data management challenge, of course, as every car would need a unique ID so it can be tracked and the driver appropriately charged or credited wherever the vehicle is plugged in. Which is one reason PG&E is working with Google on vehicle-to-grid technology.

“One of the beneficiaries of really having substantial numbers of plug-in hybrid cars is that the cost for electric utility users could go down,” says Darbee. “We have a lot of plants out there standing by for much of the year, sort of like the Maytag repairman, waiting to be called on for those super peak days. And so it’s a large investment of fixed capital not being utilized.” In other words, more electric and plug-in cars on the road mean fewer fossil-fuel peaking power plants would need to be built. (And to answer a question that always comes up, studies show that California currently has electric generating capacity to charge millions of electric cars.)

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is one of the hotter hot-button issues in the global warming debate. Left for dead following the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters, the nuclear power industry got a new lease on life as proponents pushed its ability to produce huge amounts of carbon-free electricity.

“The most pressing problem that we have in the United States and across the globe is global warming and I think for the United States as a whole, nuclear needs to be on the table to be evaluated,” says Darbee.

That’s unlikely to happen, however in California. The state in the late 1970s banned new nuclear power plant construction until a solution to the disposal of radioactive waste is found. PG&E operates the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, a project that was mired in controversy for years in the ’70s as the anti-nuke movement protested its location near several earthquake faults.

“It’s a treasure for the state of California – It’s producing electricity at about 4 cents a kilowatt hour,” Darbee says of Diablo Canyon. “I have concerns about the lack of consensus in California around nuclear and therefore even if the California Energy Commission said, `Okay, we feel nuclear should play a role,’ I’m not sure we ought to move ahead. I’d rather push on energy efficiency and renewables in California.”

The Utility Industry

No surprise that Darbee’s peers among coal-dependent utilities haven’t quite embraced the green way. “I spent Saturday in Chicago meeting with utility executives from around the country and we’re trying to see if we can come to consensus on this very issue,” he says diplomatically. “There’s a genuine concern on the part of the industry about this issue but there are undoubtedly different views about how to proceed and what time frames to proceed on.”

For Darbee one of the keys to reducing utility carbon emissions is not so much green technology as green policy that replicates the California approach of decoupling utility profits from sales. “If you’re a utility CEO you’ve got to deliver earnings per share and you’ve got to grow them,” he says. “But if selling less energy is contradictory to that you’re not going to get a lot of performance on energy efficiency out of utilities.”

“This is a war,” Darbee adds, “In fact, some people describe [global warming] as the greatest challenge mankind has ever faced — therefore what we ought to do is look at what are the most cost-effective solutions.”

Thanks to Green Wombat for this post!

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April 29, 2008 – CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION’S DRAFT INTERIM OPINION AUTHORIZING EMERGING RENEWABLE RESOURCE PROGRAMS

Excerpts of CPUC Decisions RE PG&E Wave Energy Conversion Project Funding

Summary — Today’s decision authorizes Emerging Renewable Resource Programs (ERRP) for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) (Joint Applicants). The adopted ERRP allows PG&E and SDG&E to expend up to $30 million and $15 million, respectively, on external costs for a period of two years. ERRP expenses will be recorded in each utility’s Energy Resource Recovery Account (ERRA).

The adopted ERRP includes project approval and oversight through the Commission’s Energy Division (ED) assisted by consultants using our adopted Technical Review Process (TRP). In addition, an independent evaluator (IE) will review ERRP project solicitations.

Although this decision authorizes Joint Applicants’ ERRP funding request, it provides that ratepayers will only fund up to 80% of the estimated costs for an ERRP project. Thus, ratepayers do not bear all of the risk of ERRP projects but rather share these risks with those providing the 20% in matching funds. The decision does not adopt intellectual property (IP) policies for IP produced from ERRP projects. Instead, IP will be addressed on a project-by-project basis until it is addressed through the workshop process. PG&E’s request for $2 million for the University of California Merced Solar Center (Solar Center) and $3.2 million for SDG&E’s request for a Wastewater Biomethane Demonstration (WBD) project are authorized. However, only $2 million of PG&E’s requested $6 million for its wave energy project is authorized at this time pending further review by the TRP consultants and approval by ED.

Because ERRP is a new utility program addressing the development of new renewable energy technologies, we will closely monitor and evaluate the program results during the next two years, and then decide whether the program should be continued, modified, or cancelled. This proceeding is closed.

RPS Background — The California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program was established by Senate Bill (SB) 10782 and codified by California Public Utilities Code Section 399.11, et seq. The statute required that a retail seller of electricity such as PG&E purchase a certain percentage of electricity generated by Eligible Renewable Energy Resources (ERR). Originally, each utility was required to increase its total procurement of ERRs by at least 1% of annual retail sales per year until 20% is reached, subject to the Commission’s rules on flexible compliance, no later than 2017.

The State’s Energy Action Plan I (EAP I) called for acceleration of this RPS goal to reach 20 percent by 2010. This was reiterated again in the Order 2 Chapter 516, statutes of 2002, effective January 1, 2003 (SB 1078). The Energy Action Plan I was jointly adopted by the Commission, the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (CEC) and the California Power Authority. The Commission adopted the EAP I on May 8, 2003. Instituting Rulemaking (R.04-04-026) issued on April 28, 2004, which encouraged the utilities to procure cost-effective renewable generation in excess of their RPS annual procurement targets (APT), in order to make progress towards the goal expressed in the EAP. On September 26, 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill (SB) 107, which accelerates the State’s RPS targets to 20% by 2010, subject to the Commission’s rules on flexible compliance. During the past four years, California utilities including PG&E and SDG&E have sought to increase the amount of eligible renewable energy procurement to meet RPS targets.

In addition to the 2010 mandate, in 2005 the EAP II set a more ambitious goal to reach 33% renewable energy by 2020. In 2005, the Governor called for an acceleration of the RPS to 33 percent by 2020. While the state is not mandated by legislation to reach this more ambitious goal, the Commission is working with the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to evaluate to what extent this goal can be achieved.

Regarding PG&E’s Wave Energy Conversions Projects — PG&E proposes to document the feasibility of a facility that converts wave energy into electricity by using wave energy conversion (WEC) devices in the open ocean adjacent to PG&E’s service territory. PG&E explains that WEC devices have been tested in Europe and Hawaii but have not demonstrated for commercial viability. PG&E believes that wave power is a viable energy source along California’s coast, and received preliminary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permits in March 2008. PG&E proposes that WaveConnect will be funded in three stages. The first stage includes all of the feasibility and licensing work for the two wave sites and is estimated to cost $6 million over 3 to 5 years. These costs include fees for consultants, legal services, engineering and technical consultants, environmental studies, design and planning for WEC devices and costs for the deployment of a limited number of WEC devices for testing. The second stage, estimated to cost between $15-$20 million per site over 2-4 years, includes development of infrastructure, undersea cabling, and greater numbers of WEC devices. During stage three, the most promising WEC devices will be deployed in larger quantities up to 40 Megawatts per site and connected to the grid. PG&E does not have a cost estimate for Stage 3. In the Application, PG&E is only requesting funding for Stage 1. PG&E states it will request funding for Stages 2 and 3 either in separate applications or through subsequent ERRP AL filings.

Although interested parties do not object to either the Solar Center or WBD ERRP projects discussed above, IEP (Independent Energy Producers Assoc.) contends that WaveConnect should be denied ERRP funding. IEP argues that PG&E’s WaveConnect project would provide project development costs and give PG&E an unfair advantage over independent power producers in a competitive solicitation. IEP recommends that if PG&E wishes to pursue wave energy, it should do so through a competitive wave energy RPS solicitation. In response, PG&E argues that the results of the WaveConnect project will not be known for 3 to 5 years, at which time a commercial plant may or may not be proposed. Furthermore, PG&E notes the immediate aim of WaveConnect is not to develop a commercial generating facility to compete against other project developers, but to evaluate the feasibility of extracting energy from ocean waves. PG&E states that wave energy has tremendous potential as a renewable energy source since California has over 750 miles of coastline, or over 37,000 MW of potential, of which an upper limit of about 20% could be converted into electricity. PG&E estimates that an average 7460 MW might be expected to generate up to 65 terawatt hours (TWh) per year from California’s ocean waves. California’s 2005 total energy generated was 288 TWh. Thus, wave energy could potentially provide 23% of California’s current electricity consumption. It should be noted, however, that this estimate is an upper limit, since environment impacts, land-use, and grid interconnection constraints will likely impose limits on development. The wave potential along the 600 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline in PG&E’s service territory is also very good, and has a higher wave energy climate than further south.

Other states and countries are in various stages of testing wave energy projects. Recently PG&E filed an AL for approval of a PPA from a potential wave energy provider. The State of Oregon has also begun exploring wave energy projects. While these developments suggest wave energy may become a more common energy source, the question remains as to whether we should wait until other possible wave energy developers enter the market, or approve the WaveConnect project as a means of furthering wave energy development now. It is apparent that legislation encouraging renewable power and reductions in GHG strongly support all reasonable cost effective means to achieve these ends. Furthermore, as proposed by PG&E, the commercial development of wave energy is not an immediate goal but rather a lengthy study necessary to prove or disprove the potential for wave energy from various WEC devices. On that basis we believe it important to begin expanding our knowledge and understanding of whether wave energy is a reasonable means for achieving these goals now rather than waiting to see how this market may develop. We will conditionally authorize PG&E to begin the WaveConnect project as part of its ERRP. However we are less certain about the WaveConnect project as proposed over the many years outlined in the Application and WaveConnect information provided in PG&E’s Response. We desire to allow PG&E to move forward with the tasks to complete the goals and milestones in year one, including steps necessary to file the Pre-Application Document by March 2009, which is the next milestone in the FERC licensing process. While PG&E is conducting these activities, ED and its TRP consultants will review the other activities proposed in Stage 1 from years two through five. As a result, we only authorize PG&E to spend up to $2 million in ERRP funds to cover the expenditures necessary to complete the tasks for Year 1.

Once the TRP is established, it will review WaveConnect and recommend to ED whether, and how much additional spending is reasonable. Following this review, and upon receipt of a letter from the Energy Division directing PG&E on how to proceed, PG&E may file a Tier 2 or Tier 371 AL requesting additional funds for the WaveConnect project. In this AL filing, PG&E must demonstrate that it has acquired additional funds covering at least 20% of the total amount requested for Stage 1.72 PG&E shall record and recover these costs as described in Section 5.11.

In addition to seeking funding for Stage 1, PG&E indicated that it would seek funding for Stages 2 and 3 through subsequent ERRP AL filings or through applications. Since the maximum ERRP funding for one project is $7 million dollars, PG&E cannot exceed this limit over the life of WaveConnect. Thus, if PG&E is authorized to expend up to $6 million for Stage 1 through ERRP, WaveConnect will only be eligible for $1 million in additional funding for future stages. PG&E cannot request over $7 million in ratepayer funding for WaveConnect through subsequent ERRP funding periods nor through a separate application.

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Publisher’s Note: On May 21, 2008 FERC Rejected Mendocino’s Request for Rehearing so the granting of the Rehearing was short-lived and only because FERC required more time to consider the rehearing further. Interesting that FERC doesn’t suffer from ‘out of time’ issues!

MendoCoastCurrent, May 1, 2008

Learned today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a Rehearing related to its March 4, 2008 Notice Denying Late Intervention and, additionally, FERC granted a Rehearing related to the Issued Orders for PG&E’s Wave Energy Development Preliminary Permits of March 13, 2008…both Humboldt and Fort Bragg coastal areas are affected by these actions. Cited reasons for rehearings: further consideration.

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MendoCoastCurrent, April 24, 2008

Since late 2007 PG&E has dispatched government relations and program managers to broadcast their pledge and intention to work with Mendocino County Supervisors, Fort Bragg Councilpersons, FISH (Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics) and Concerned Coastal Residents as they move swiftly to explore wave energy development off the Mendocino Coast. Based on current actions, PG&E is working all sides of the Mendocino Coast, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) and PG&E renewable energy corporate goals to move their agenda forward.

Mendocino Coast Citizens, County, FISH and Fort Bragg reactions have been leery and FERC indicates ‘a little too late.’ Local government asserts that when Mendocino, FISH and Fort Bragg missed important response dates in the FERC proceedings, it was due to FERC and PG&E failing to provide the required timely, local, written notice of PG&E’s Application for the Preliminary Permit.

Meanwhile in public meetings, letters and in conversations, PG&E has voiced support of Fort Bragg’s, FISH’s and the County of Mendocino’s move to Intervene in FERC/PG&E Preliminary Permit going so far as to express ‘surprise’ of the FERC/PG&E Preliminary Permit issuance (on March 13, 2008 ) in a comment at a Town Hall meeting. Then PG&E sent letters (Ft. Bragg, Mendocino County, FISH) of concern when FERC denied their efforts to Intervene on March 5, 2008.

The Mendocino public requested PG&E to file Letters of Support for Intervener Status in the FERC docket. PG&E lawyers decided to reject that request when they filed an Answer to Mendocino County’s Request for Re-Hearing, opposing Mendocino’s Request for Re-Hearing on the FERC Denial of Intervener status, mostly supporting that their notice was correct when they failed to provide the required local, written notice as required by FERC.

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Updates from Frank Hartzell’s article announcing FERC’s granting of GreenWave’s application:

On December 9, 2008  “the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a Southern California development company exclusive rights to 17 square miles off the town of Mendocino for a wave energy study.

GreenWave LLC’s intent is to eventually produce a 100 megawatt wave energy power plant, more than twice as big as the 40 megawatt project Pacific Gas & Electric plans off Fort Bragg.

Due to redefining of the preliminary permit process by FERC, the new preliminary permit does not encourage in-water testing. It does give sole claim and study rights to GreenWave, blocking any local study of the same area.

More valuable, the preliminary permit gives GreenWave exclusive first rights to a license to build a wave energy farm, upon completion of the three-year study.

The preliminary permit came more than a year after GreenWave, of Thousand Oaks, filed for two preliminary permits. FERC had initially rejected the GreenWave application as too sketchy.

GreenWave also was granted a preliminary permit on Tuesday for a nearly identical proposal off San Luis Obispo.

 

*****

DAVID SNEED, The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, April 2008

A Southern California company is eyeing the coastline off Montaña de Oro State Park to study the feasibility of an emerging renewable energy technology—converting wave action to electricity.

Green Wave Energy Solutions LLC has laid claim to a three-mile-wide swath of ocean a mile off the tip of the Morro Bay sand spit to Point Buchon —17 square miles in all — in which it hopes to eventually test the feasibility of wave power.

The Thousand Oaks company has applied to federal energy officials for permission to do the study.

“We’re still early on in development, but we feel there is a tremendous window of opportunity to do this,” said Wayne Burkamp, a San Francisco attorney who is GreenWave’s president.

The application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit would not give the company permission to put wave energy devices in the water. Rather, it would give the company three years to study the feasibility of wave energy.

“It’s like a mining claim,” said Allison Detmer, director of the state Coastal Commission’s energy program.

The application is one of several before FERC laying claim to coastal waters of California for possible development of wave energy.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) recently received a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

Green Wave also has an application for the Mendocino coast. Wave energy projects are also in the works in Oregon and Washington.

The San Luis Obispo County project is the southernmost.

Undecided technology

Neither the PG&E nor GreenWave applications state what type of wave energy devices would be used.

Two types are under development, Burkamp said. Both use the up-and-down motion of waves to generate electricity. One consists of a snake-like line of tubes floating on the surface of the ocean that undulates as waves pass by. The other employees a buoy that uses the pitching and heaving motions caused by waves to generate power.

Green Wave officials aren’t providing additional details on what technology they might use.

“Given the time horizon for getting through the permitting process (which could be years) and the uncertainties of what the technologies will actually look like, GreenWave believes it would be misleading to provide detailed specifications of a technology at this stage,” Burkamp wrote in the application to FERC.

A wave power facility off San Luis Obispo County could generate as much as 100 megawatts of power, the application states. That’s enough power for about 90,000 homes.

By contrast, Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant generates 2,200 megawatts.

The company anticipates spending as much as $2 million during the initial feasibility phase, while actual installation of a wave-power facility would cost as much as $40 million.

Regulatory hurdles

According to the application, Green Wave’s study area is one to three and a half miles offshore and seven miles long. Wave energy components would not be visible from shore, Burkamp said.

“A project area of this size is required to allow flexibility for performing the necessary assessments and properly siting the project components,” the application reads.

This area was chosen because of its abundant wave action and its proximity to Morro Bay. The city has a port and power plant, where electricity generated by a wave power plant could land and hook into the power grid, Burkamp said.

He said a test project could be in the water within a year to a year and a half. However, Coastal Commission officials say the establishment of a wave power facility anywhere in California is years away.

“This industry is very young, and they need to do a lot of testing first,” Detmer said.

Wave power facilities would also face many regulatory hurdles. Burkamp estimates that a facility would require 26 federal, state and local permits.

Placing wave energy devices in the water and laying transmission lines on the ocean floor would both require coastal development permits, Detmer said. Projects located farther off shore than three miles would be under the jurisdiction of the federal Minerals Management Service.

Environmental groups are reacting with caution to the recent interest in wave power. They support the idea of renewable energy sources such as wave power, but are waiting for details about specific projects.

“We think it’s important that all of these projects proceed with caution,” said Rick Wilson, coastal management director with the Surfrider Foundation. “Even though this is clean, green technology, there can be potential impacts to fishing and environmental impacts.”

Possible environmental impacts include noise, increased vessel traffic and blockage of whale migration routes.

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TIMM HERDT, Ventura County Star, April 23, 2008

Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland of Moorpark, who has spent his entire adult life either working in the Legislature or running for political office, has decided to present himself to voters this year wearing the mantle of a newfound vocation: “Alternative Energy Executive.”

That is the ballot designation Strickland, a Republican, chose when he filed in March to run for the 19th Senate District.

Strickland, 38, says the description accurately reflects his station in life. Some of his critics, however, believe he is using the title to deceptively present himself to voters as a friend of the environment.

The title will appear under his name on the ballot. It refers to his position as vice president and partner in a startup company, founded in June, called Green Wave Energy Solutions. The company has filed applications with the Federal Energy Commission to develop two projects off the California coast.

It hopes eventually to produce electricity from a nascent technology that seeks to harness energy from ocean waves. Strickland is one of five partners who each pledged to put up $5,000 to start the company, although Strickland acknowledges he has yet to pay his share.

“I believe I am going to be successful in this company.” Strickland said. “I’ve always thought alternative energy will be very profitable. I think it will be the wave of the future.”

Strickland went to work out of college as an aide to then-Assemblyman Tom McClintock. In 1998, at age 28, he became one of the youngest members ever elected to the Legislature. Until his association with the new company, his whole life had been politics.

The ballot designation has raised eyebrows among environmentalists, who assert he is using the title solely in an attempt to favorably introduce himself to environmental-minded voters in Santa Barbara County, a part of the district in which he is unknown.

“That’s a complete scam,” said Bill Magavern, California advocacy director for the Sierra Club. “For him to pose as a supporter of alternative energy is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of voters.”

Magavern noted that Strickland, as a member of the Assembly, voted against a 2002 law that expanded the demand for alternative energy by requiring utility companies to supply more of their electrical power from renewable energy sources. That law, in essence, created a virtually guaranteed market for any power that a future wave-energy project might produce.

California’s Elections Code allows candidates to place a designation beneath their names on the ballot. Incumbents can list that status and those who currently hold elected office can list that title. Candidates cannot cite offices they formerly held.

In the 19th Senate District, both candidates — Strickland and Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson — are former members of the Assembly. As private citizens, they had to choose some other description. The law allows them to use “no more than three words designating current principal professions, vocations or occupations.”

Jackson, who spent 22 years working as an attorney before being elected to the Assembly in 1998, chose the designation “educator.” Although she is still a member of the California Bar, she said she did not choose “attorney” because she has not practiced law in a decade.

Because she taught at UC Santa Barbara as the university’s “public policymaker in residence” from the time she left office in 2004 until last June, she said, she opted for “educator.” From March 2007 to March 2008, she reported making $50,000 as an educator.

After leaving office in 2004, Strickland became president of the limited-government advocacy group the California Club for Growth, a post he was forced to resign when he ran for state controller in 2006. On that ballot, he designated himself as “Taxpayer Organization President.”

Since then, his statement of economic interests shows his only source of income has been as a consultant for a firm he manages called New Market Strategies, a position for which his report shows he received income of more than $10,000 and less than $100,000. He acknowledges he has received no income from GreenWave, since the company has yet to generate any revenues.

Something of an art form

Selecting a ballot designation has become something of an art form in political campaigns in California. Typically, candidates pick designations that appeal to the constituencies of their parties — “educator” for Democrats, for instance, or “businessman” for Republicans.

“It’s one of the more interesting things to deal with,” said GOP consultant Kevin Spillane, who is not associated with the Strickland campaign. “It’s one of the things you can control, but it has strange limitations on it. I’ve actually gone to court over ballot designations.”

In the early stages of the campaign, Strickland has sought to capitalize on the positive associations with alternative energy among voters. Introductory radio commercials he aired in Santa Barbara in December emphasized his affiliation with the fledgling energy company. In a March news release announcing the official kickoff of his campaign, he prominently described himself as “vice president of a renewable energy company he helped found.”

Other partners in the company include Thousand Oaks developer Gary Gorian and Ventura County Board of Education member Dean Kunicki.

Gorian, whose development company contributed $3,000 to Strickland’s 2006 campaign, describes himself as a longtime friend. Strickland said it was Gorian who first alerted him to the business and to the potential for wave energy production.

In addition to the partners, the company has two volunteer employees — Chris Wangsaporn, who is managing Strickland’s Senate campaign, and Joel Angeles, chief of staff to Strickland’s wife, Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, and a consultant to Tony Strickland’s campaign.

Gaining ‘sweat equity’

Although the two are not being paid, Strickland said they have been promised future considerations for the “sweat equity” they are devoting to helping the company get off the ground.

Strickland said his agreement gives him a 20% ownership in Green Wave. His responsibilities are “to guide the company on a strategic level. I’m there to coach on government affairs issues.”

He also serves as a company spokesman to the media and was recently quoted extensively in a Mendocino County newspaper story reporting on Green Wave’s application for a project off that county’s coast. That wave energy project and another proposed by Pacific Gas & Electric have generated environmental concerns in the area.

Jackson, the Democratic candidate, said she considered but rejected the idea of challenging whether Strickland’s involvement with a nascent company met the legal definition of being a “principal vocation or occupation” required to justify his ballot designation.

“It defies credibility,” she said. “I don’t think the public is easily fooled.”

Magavern of the Sierra Club notes that during Strickland’s six years in the Assembly he received poor ratings for his environmental record. “In general, Strickland had a zero record from both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters,” he said.

One key bill Strickland opposed is the law generally credited with jump-starting the market for alternative energy in California. SB1078, passed in 2002, requires investor-owned utilities such as Southern California Edison to obtain at least 20 percent of the electrical power they supply from renewable energy sources.

They must increase their renewable energy portfolio by at least 1 percent a year until they meet that 20 percent goal.

That bill passed the Assembly on a 55-23 vote. Although it was supported mostly by Democrats, a number of Republican lawmakers joined with them, including new Senate Republican leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto.

Strickland said he voted no because he opposes government mandates.

“When there is a demand for something — and there is a public demand for alternative energy — the private sector will meet it,” he said. “I don’t believe the government needs to come in and mandate it.”

Political consultant Spillane said that in the end, the candidates’ ballot designations will have little effect in what is expected to be a free-spending, high-profile campaign.

“Ballot designations are crucial in lower visibility races,” he said. “But in this race it’s not going to matter that much. If people don’t know who Tony is now, by the time this race is over, they will.”

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MMS nominated both Humboldt and Mendocino lease areas last Friday. See following for full details, emphasis added.

Federal Register: April 18, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 76)
———————————————————————–

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Minerals Management Service – Docket No. MMS-2008-OMM-0020

Notice of Nominations Received and Proposed Limited Alternative Energy Leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and Initiation of Coordination and Consultation

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION: Announcement of nominations and processing priorities, inquiry on competing nominations for proposed limited alternative energy leases, and request for comments from interested and affected parties.

———————————————————————–

SUMMARY: On November 6, 2007, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) published in the Federal Register (72 FR 214, pp. 62673-62675) a request for information and nominations of areas for leases authorizing alternative energy

[[Page 21153]]

resource assessment and technology testing activities pursuant to
subsection 8(p) of the OCS Lands Act, as amended.
We received over 40 nominations of areas for limited leases
authorizing such activities relating to wind, wave, and ocean current
energy resources on the OCS. The MMS has considered the nominations in
light of relevant criteria for proceeding with the issuance of leases.
As required by subsection 8(p), MMS must issue such leases on a
competitive basis unless we determine after public notice that there is
no competitive interest. Subsection 8(p) also requires MMS to
coordinate and consult with relevant Federal agencies and affected
State and local governments concerning the issuance of OCS alternative
energy leases. This Notice provides the required public notice of
proposed leases by announcing the nominations that MMS has decided to
process as a priority and inquiring as to the existence of any
competitive interest in these nominated areas. Also, with this
announcement we intend to inform all interested and affected parties of
these nominations and invite comments and information–including
information on environmental issues and concerns–that will be useful
in our consideration of the nominated areas for the issuance of limited
alternative energy leases.

DATES: The MMS requests any competing nominations and relevant comments and information by May 19, 2008. As it pertains to nominations, this is a strict deadline, and nominations received after the deadline will be not be considered by MMS for the purpose of determining competitive interest in the areas originally nominated. Other comments may be submitted within 60 days.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments by one of two methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Under
the tab “More Search Options,” click “Advanced Docket Search,” then
select “Minerals Management Service” from the agency drop-down menu,
then click “submit.” In the Docket ID column, select MMS-2008-OMM-
0020 to submit public comments and to view supporting and related
materials available for this rulemaking. Information on using
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents,
submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the
comment period, is available through the site’s “User Tips” link. The
MMS will post all comments.
(2) Mailing your comments to the following address: Minerals
Management Service, Offshore Minerals Management, Alternative Energy
and Alternate Use Team, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Maureen Bornholdt, Minerals
Management Service, Offshore Minerals Management, 381 Elden Street,
Mail Stop 4080, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817, (703) 787-1300.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Public Comment Policy. Before including your address, phone number,
e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your
submission, you should be aware that your entire submission–including
your personal identifying information–may be made publicly available
at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot
guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Background. Under the interim policy described in the November 6,
2007, Federal Register Notice referenced above, MMS stated its
intention to issue limited OCS alternative energy leases for a term of
5 years that would authorize resource assessment and technology testing
activities, subject to specific terms and conditions. That Notice
invited respondents who wish to acquire limited OCS alternative energy
leases to nominate areas of interest by January 7, 2008. On December
14, 2007, MMS published in the Federal Register (72 FR 240, pp. 71152-
71157) a Notice of new information collection that presented a proposed
“Lease of Submerged Lands for Alternative Energy Activities on the
OCS” and requested comments by February 12, 2008.
In addition to the nominations submitted by prospective lessees,
MMS received numerous comments from proponents of OCS alternative
energy development, including industry associations. Several of those
comments stated that the interim policy should be revised to provide a
right to commercial development for those who acquire leases for
resource assessment and technology testing. As MMS stated in the
November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice, the interim policy is
intended to permit the collection of resource assessment and technology
testing data in support of future development activity without any
priority right for future commercial development. It is designed to
begin the process in the acquisition of needed information about a
variety of OCS conditions under a relatively simple authorizing
process. Conveyance of full commercial development rights would entail
a much lengthier and complicated process than MMS is willing to
undertake at this time under the interim policy.
Therefore, MMS reiterates and reaffirms its interim policy as
originally formulated and proposed. Further, in the absence of
promulgated rules, MMS does not plan to revise the interim policy or
adopt a new policy to authorize commercial development of OCS
alternative energy. We will continue to defer consideration of
commercial OCS alternative energy projects until regulations governing
alternative energy activities on the OCS are in place, except with
respect to the two proposed projects that are the subject of the
savings provision of section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Prospective lessees, both the original nominators and those
responding to this Notice, must show that they are qualified to hold an
OCS lease before MMS will consider their proposals. The qualifications
for holders of OCS oil and gas leases set forth at 30 CFR 256.35
provide useful guidance in this regard to prospective limited
alternative energy lessees. Limited alternative energy lease holders
must also comply with all terms and conditions of their lease (see the
December 14, 2007, Federal Register Notice of the proposed lease form).
As stated in the November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice proposing
the interim policy, a limited lease will grant the lessee the exclusive
right to conduct the activities identified in the lease on the
designated lease area. Acquisition of a limited lease will not grant
the lessee any rights with respect to the future acquisition of
commercial development rights for the leased site.
Nominations. We received nominations on the Atlantic and Pacific
Coasts. Most of the Atlantic Coast nominations are for meteorological
and oceanographic data collection facilities that would support wind
energy projects off of the coasts of Massachusetts, New York, New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia.
There also are nominations for areas off of the coast of Florida
focused on ocean current information collection and technology testing.
On the Pacific coast, the main interest is in wave energy, and nominations were received for areas off California, Oregon and Washington.
The MMS has decided to give priority consideration to issuing
limited leases for: (1) Data collection activities relating to wind
resources off of the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia; (2)
data collection and technology testing activities relating to current
resources off of the coast of Florida; and (3) data

[[Page 21154]]

collection and technology testing activities relating to wave resources off of the coast of Northern California. These locations of proposed OCS alterative energy limited leasing are described as follows:

—————————————————————————————————————-
Official protraction
Adjacent state diagram Block(s) Resource
—————————————————————————————————————-
1. New Jersey………………….. Hudson Canyon NJ 18-03. 6451………………….. Wind.
2. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6936 and 7131………….. Wind.
3. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6931………………….. Wind.
4. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6738………………….. Wind.
5. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 7033………………….. Wind.
6. Delaware……………………. Salisbury NJ 18-05….. 6325………………….. Wind.
7. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6074………………….. Wind.
8. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6174………………….. Wind.
9. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6126………………….. Wind.
10. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-06……. 7103………………….. Current.
11. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-05……. 7040 and 7090………….. Current.
Bahamas NG 17-06……. 7001, 7002, 7003, 7004, ………………..
7005, 7006, 7007, 7051,
7052, 7053, 7054, 7055,
7056, 7057, 7104, 7105,
7106, and 7107.
12. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-06……. 6702, 6703, 6704, 6705, Current.
6706, 6707, and 6708.
13. Florida……………………. Miami NG 17-08……… 6040………………….. Current.
14. Florida……………………. Bimini NG 17-09…….. 6001………………….. Current.
15. California…………………. Ukiah NJ 10-02……… 6405, 6455, 6456, 6504, Wave.
6505, 6506, 6554, 6555,
6604, 6605, 6654, 6655,
6704, and 6705.
16. California…………………. Eureka NK 10-10…….. 6031, 6032, 6033, 6080, Wave.
6081, 6082, 6083, 6130,
6131, 6132, 6133, 6179,
6180, 6181, 6182, 6229,
6230, 6231, 6232, 6279,
6280, 6281, 6330, and 6331.
—————————————————————————————————————-

The above locations refer to areas identified on the Official
Protraction Diagrams that are available from each MMS regional office
and online at http://www.mms.gov/ld/Maps.htm, and the areas are
identified as OCS blocks that are generally nine square miles in size.
The nominated areas may be located on those maps or on a map viewer
maintained by MMS at http://www.mms.gov/offshore/RenewableEnergy/
WebMappingViewer.htm.
The MMS reviewed in detail all nominations we received and
established our priority areas for initial leasing in light of
considerations such as technological complexity, timing needs,
competing use issues, and relationships to relevant state-supported
renewable energy activities, as well as considerations relating to
limited available MMS staff and budget resources for processing and
managing limited leases. We also took into consideration the
desirability of authorizing the advancement of activities relating to
each of the alternative energy resource types cited in the
nominations–wind, current, and wave.
We chose proposed leasing locations off of the New Jersey and
Delaware coasts primarily because the installation of data collection
facilities relating to wind would support the concurrent efforts by
those States to foster commercial development of wind power on the
adjoining OCS. We also selected the area off of the coast of Georgia as
a site for limited leasing related to wind because of the ongoing
efforts of Southern Company and the Georgia Institute of Technology
Strategic Energy Institute to acquire wind data to determine the
technical and economic feasibility of locating an OCS wind energy
project off of the coast of Georgia. Their efforts include the use of
existing U.S. Navy meteorological and oceanographic data collection
platforms and other lower elevation facilities for several years. They
now propose to gather critical data at a substantially higher height.
We chose proposed leasing locations off of the coast of Florida,
because the data collection and technology testing activities relate to
ocean currents. The State of Florida has supported ocean current
research through the Florida Atlantic University Center of Excellence
in Ocean Energy Technology, which includes several academic, Federal
Government, and private industry participants.
We chose two proposed leasing locations off of the coast of Northern California, specifically offshore Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, because the data collection and technology testing activities relate to ocean wave activities. The areas were nominated to conduct alternative energy resource assessment and technology testing with respect to the WaveConnect Projects proposed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company in each area. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company has sought or obtained permits from other Federal agencies and has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission for funds to conduct studies related to these projects.
It is important to note that MMS has not made any final decision to
award leases in the areas identified in this Notice. We have identified
these areas as our priorities for potentially authorizing limited
leases under this interim policy, and through this Notice we are
soliciting comments to determine if competitive interest exists in
these areas. Nominations that were not selected for processing as a
priority, as well as additional nominations received in the future, may
be processed by MMS at a later date. We have chosen to process a lease
or group of leases relating to each type of alternative energy resource
in accordance with our staff and budget resources and associated timing
considerations. Many of the nominations that were not selected for
priority processing appear to entail complex technology (e.g., new
deeper-water designs) or environmental or conflicting use concerns that
would make processing them more difficult and time consuming.
Request for Competing Nominations. As stated above, the areas that
have been nominated for proposed alternative energy limited leases are
identified as blocks on the OCS Official Protraction Diagrams. While we
received some nominations for areas smaller than OCS blocks, we have
decided that the minimum size for limited leases issued under the
interim policy will be a block or aggregation of blocks but will not be
smaller than a block. Upon acquisition of such a lease, a lessee may
contract the

[[Page 21155]]

original lease area by relinquishing aliquot parts of the lease, a part
as small as \1/16\ of a block.
We request respondents who wish to compete for limited leases for
the areas identified in this Notice to submit a nomination identifying
the block(s) in which you are interested, the resource(s) you want to
assess (e.g., wind, current, wave) and the technology you want to test.
Also, provide a general description of the type and number of
installations or technologies you would use and a project schedule for
the activities you propose. Your nomination of an area must be
consistent with the type of alternative energy resource identified for
that area (e.g., a nomination off of the coast of New Jersey must
pertain to data collection activities relating to wind resources). A
nomination that is not consistent with the resource identified for a
specific area will not be considered. The block(s) you wish to nominate
should be identified using the information on Official Protraction
Diagrams available as described above. Also, if you submit such a
nomination, please provide the name, telephone number, and e-mail
address of an individual for the MMS to contact.
With this request MMS is inviting nominations from parties who have
not previously submitted nominations for the areas identified in this
Notice and are interested in acquiring leases only for one or more of
the blocks listed above. Those who have already submitted nominations
for these areas should not resubmit the same nomination. A nomination
received in response to the November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice
will be considered active unless the original nominator notifies MMS in
writing that the nominator is no longer interested in obtaining a lease
for the area originally nominated. If an original nominator is
interested in competing for a lease area identified in this Notice and
it was not the original nominator of that site, it must submit a new
nomination for that lease area as provided in this Notice. If you have
not already submitted a nomination and wish to submit one for an area
listed above, you must submit by the deadline stated above. Late
submissions will not be considered.
MMS Analysis of Nominations. The MMS will consider the nominations
received in response to this Notice along with the original
nominations. We will determine that there is competitive interest for
any proposed lease area that receives more than one nomination and that
there is no competitive interest for any area that receives only one
nomination. In instances where our analysis determines that there is
competitive interest, we will contact the competing nominators to
explore options for collaboration or refinements of proposals before
considering options for proceeding with a competitive auction. If we
receive a competing nomination that only partially overlaps a multiple-
block original nomination, we may determine that there is no
competition, because in such a case the proposed lease area subject to
competition would comprise the entire multiple-block original
nomination. However, based on the information we receive in response to
this notice, MMS may decide to issue a subsequent public notice
requesting expressions of interest in the partial area where the
competing nominations overlap separate from the remainder of the
multiple-block area proposed for lease.
In instances where our analysis concludes that there is no
competitive interest in a previously nominated area, we will contact
the nominators and proceed with noncompetitive lease issuances as time
and resources allow. However, we may first choose to explore options
for collaboration in the interest of optimizing efficiency. The MMS
will publicly announce the results of its analyses to determine
competitive interest and its intentions to proceed with the issuance of
leases.

Coordination and Consultation

The MMS invites all interested and affected parties to submit comments and information pertaining to the nominated areas listed above. We believe such input would be useful as we consider these areas for limited leasing, and we especially welcome information concerning geographic characteristics and environmental resources, as this will assist us in our environmental review processes. We seek information on the nominated areas relating to other ocean and seabed uses, relationships to onshore energy markets of the nominated areas, and applicable State and local laws and policies. We also request comments and suggestions on how we may best coordinate and consult comprehensively and efficiently to comply with applicable Federal, State, and local laws and policies. Officials of MMS intend to contact Federal, State, and local government counterparts during the comment period to discuss the nominations and the process for issuing limited OCS alternative energy leases under the interim policy. Such discussions may explore methods to foster intergovernmental coordination, including whether to establish intergovernmental task forces with Federal, State, and local entities for this purpose.

Dated: April 2, 2008.
Randall B. Luthi,
Director, Minerals Management Service

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Dear Ocean Guardians:

Now that corporations and Washington D.C. have started claiming our coast for wave energy development, we must take a stand. We are called on behalf of our beloved Mendocino coast and the organisms inhabiting the vast and mighty ocean, source of all life on our Earth.

We embrace a focused intention to protect our Coast from unwieldy, untested, potentially polluting and environmentally disasterous renewable energy development, including wave energy development — most importantly wave energy device deployment without best-practice and thorough environmental testing and/or appropriate consent of related government organizations (i.e. local, state, county, coastal commission, environmental overseeing groups, fishermen organizations, etc.).

Our goal in protecting the ocean demands an Immediate Moratorium on all deployment, permits, studies and reservations of wave energy development rights on the Coast of Mendocino, whether it be in state or federal waters. This moratorium is called in response to PG&E’s Preliminary Permit with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Committee) that gives PG&E (and their consultants) the right to “study” our coast without OUR participation, judgment or care!

We shall not be shut out of this process!

Let us come together to protect our coast and defend it now!

Sincerely,

Laurel Krause
Publisher, MendoCoastCurrent

To learn more about topics related to Wave Energy Development and the Mendocino coast, please go to MendoCoastCurrent at http://MendoCoastCurrent.wordpress.com; email laurelkrause “at” gmail.com.

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Wave Energy

This is an older FERC map showing detail of Oregon & Washington best.

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Recently on April 3 & April 4, 2008, the County of Mendocino and the City of Fort Bragg respectively filed Motions for Rehearing to Intervene in the proposed FERC and PG&E hydrokinetic projects off the Fort Bragg coastline.

To read the Fort Bragg Motion for Rehearing, go here;

To read the County of Mendocino’s Motion for Rehearing, go here;

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Summary from Argentco.com, April 2007

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s wave energy project, “WaveConnect,” has become the first project of its kind in North America to help accelerate the development of wave energy technology.

With the filing of two preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, PG&E plans to study whether it would be environmentally safe and economically feasible to generate electricity from wave power at two sites off the Mendocino and Humboldt county coasts.

If approved, PG&E plans to spend $3 million over the next three years exploring wave energy. If PG&E finds wave power to be profitable and safe for marine life, it would then build two wave-power generating facilities, each capable of producing approximately 40 megawatts of power per year. Forty megawatts would power an estimated 30,000 homes for a period of 12 months.

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