RACHEL THOMSON, The Daily World, August 5, 2008
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a preliminary permit to grant the Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Co. the exclusive right to conduct a feasibility study for generating power from wind and wave energy on a 28-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast from Ocean Shores to Grayland over the next three years. The permit, issued August 1, 2008, does not authorize any construction.
The project foresees as many as 90 260-foot tall steel wind turbines, as well as wave energy converters to convert ocean waves and wind into a renewable source of energy and could supply enough energy to power the entire Olympic Peninsula and make Grays Harbor one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the world, according to Burton Hamner, president of Hydrovolts, Inc.—the creator of the Grays Harbor Energy Co. Hamner also said the project has the potential to create numerous jobs within the county because the renewable energy equipment would be manufactured locally.
“The ocean off of Washington has the potential to provide all the electricity needed for the western half of the state by 2025,” Hamner said. “We are leading the investigation how to make this a reality and encourage everyone interested in locally-generated clean power to learn more about the possibilities.”
The feasibility study will seek to find out if the turbines would affect gray whale migration patterns and flight patterns of birds, according to Hamner. Hamner said the study will also examine whether or not the locations of the turbines could limit the areas in which fisherman can fish.
Hamner said a cost for completing the project has not been determined, but the feasibility study could cost upward of $500,000. Funding would come from state and federal grants as well as from the Bonneville Power Administration, he said.
Even after the feasibility study is completed, it would take about four years to begin construction, Hamner said.