On December 21, the Finavera Renewables Ocean Energy, Ltd conditionally secured a FERC license for its hydrokinetic power project located 1.9 nautical miles offshore Washington State. The 5-year license to the Makah Bay Offshore Wave Pilot Project is designed “to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of wave energy conversion power plants near coastal communities.” The project will generate an average of 1,500 MWh annually.
The innovative technology is powered by a closed-loop hydraulic system inside four (4) 19.5 feet x 16.4 feet buoys filled with 1,850 gallons of fresh water. An acceleration tube converts a wave’s kinetic energy into pressurized water through a piston system that lowers and stretches with each wave motion, thereby pressurizing water to the nozzles of a turbine housed near the top of a buoy. A 3.7 mile submarine transmission cable anchored to the ocean floor will lead to an onshore connection to the utility grid.
FERC Commissioner Moeller lauded the license since “[c]onsumers are demanding more renewable energy options, especially those sources that are domestic, renewable, and carbon-free.” Commission Moeller added that “it demonstrates this Commission’s proactive approach to enable the development of this and other sources of hydropower.”
The license is conditioned on, among other things, Finavera’s written notification to FERC that all other authorizations have been obtained as required under federal law. This condition is consistent with the agency’s November 2007 Policy Statement on Conditioned Licenses for Hydrokinetic Projects in which FERC enumerated its policy of conditioning licenses to hydrokinetic projects “on the licensee being precluded from commencing construction until the necessary authorizations are received.”
Finavera filed its application on November 8, 2006, and construction must be completed within three years from the effective date of the license.
— from Energy Legal Blog at http://energylegalblog.com/