FRANK HARTZELL, Mendocino Beacon, June 24, 2010
Kenneth Hogan of FERC wrote that GreenWave Energy Solutions had failed to file both a required notice of intent and a pre-application document (PAD), in a letter sent Monday.
Both documents were due in early May for GreenWave’s two proposed wave energy farms off San Luis Obispo and Mendocino. Both documents are intended to determine the scale of the projects now being considered and the “probable revocation” applies to both projects.
Earlier this year, GreenWave announced they had entered into an agreement with Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) of New Jersey, one of the world’s top companies in the field to get the two projects going.
GreenWave has so far pushed the biggest wave energy project idea of all, one that would generate a whopping 100 megawatts of power off Mendocino.
GreenWave was granted a preliminary permit in May 2009, after FERC had sent the permit back for more details and deliberated for nearly a year. A preliminary permit is an exclusive right to study an area of the ocean.
At the end of a successful preliminary permit process, that developer gets first right to install wave energy devices, by virtue of being the first to file for the preliminary permit.
The area now claimed by GreenWave had previously been claimed by Chevron.
But GreenWave is now told they will probably lose their claim to that area.
“The failure to timely file a [Notice of Intent] and PAD warrants the cancellation of a preliminary permit,” Hogan wrote. “This letter constitutes notice under section 5 of the Federal Power Act of the probable cancellation of both preliminary permits no less than 30 days from the date of this letter.”
The cancellation would be bad news for Tony Strickland, a Southern California Republican who made his work as one of the four GreenWave Partners a key plank in the campaign with which won his state Senate seat by the narrowest of margins two years ago. He lists “alternative energy executive” as his occupation.
Now, Strickland is using his status as a green energy businessman in his campaign to be state controller. He won the Republican nomination last month by a wide margin.
“Tony serves as Vice President of GreenWave Energy Solutions LLC, a company that seeks to harness the power of ocean waves to provide energy to Californians,” his campaign website states.
GreenWave has never held a single local meeting to introduce or explain its claim of the waters off Mendocino village. Some locals are amazed at how much Strickland makes of a project that exists only on paper.
“GreenWave Energy Solutions was the recipient of the United Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award for 2008 and Tony has been featured on CNBC for his work with the company,” the Controller 2010 campaign website states.
On the other hand, the permit termination would be good news for the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. According to a California Attorney General opinion, the MLPAI is banned from putting any new marine parks (of any of the three kinds) in areas where there are pre-existing ocean leases, which includes the GreenWave lease off Mendocino and the PG&E lease off Eureka. Thus, a big area of ocean real estate is currently off limits to creation of new protected areas by the MLPAI.
Earlier this year, GreenWave promised FERC several rounds of local meetings for March and April, which failed to materialize. And the company has filed other documents late during its FERC process.
But FERC’s revocation threats may be premature. A review of the FERC lease documents shows GreenWave may have a valid reason why they didn’t file the documents that resulted in this week’s letter from Hogan.
The FERC lease gives GreenWave the option of filing a Notice of Intent and Draft License in two years, instead of the one-year filing requirement for the NOI and PAD. However, to further complicate matters, GreenWave actually promised the NOI and PAD would be done in June 2010. That promise was made in GreenWave’s 45-day filing in June 2009.
GreenWave Energy Solutions is described as a limited liability company with five members, President Wayne Burkamp, Strickland, engineer Bill Bustamante and prominent Southern California housing developers Dean Kunicki and Gary Gorian.
Attempts to reach GreenWave president Burkamp or FERC’s Hogan weren’t successful by press time.