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.