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Posts Tagged ‘FERC Rejection’

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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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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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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On April 7, 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the wave permit application of Sonoma County, California, and also the permit application of Lincoln County, Oregon, see attached letter relative to the Sonoma permit, below.

SonomaRejection

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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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April 1, 2008

Interesting reading…A Request for Rehearing has been filed related to FERC’s Denial of FISH’s Motions to Intervene in PG&E’s Mendocino and Humboldt Wave Energy Projects (read Filing : fish-request-for-rehearing.pdf).

FISH, Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics, has become a steering committee led by Mendocino coast locals, John Innes and Jim Martin, as Co-Coordinators and Elizabeth Mitchell as FERC Coordinator.

FISH has polled the fishing community for much of the information in this Request for Rehearing, and it is clear that there is substantial, if not total, overlap between the fishing grounds and the proposed wave energy project areas.

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In Fort Bragg, California on the Mendocino Coast, March 29, 2008 from 11-NOON

Mendocino Wave Energy Moratorium March

THE FACTS:

PG&E’s Wave Energy Preliminary Permit was Approved & Issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 13, 2008.

FERC DENIED The City of Fort Bragg, FISH and the County of Mendocino Motions to Intervene in Mendocino’s Wave Energy Development.

Both PG&E and FERC are NOW Swiftly Moving Forward to “TEST” Off the Mendocino Coast.

WHAT WE’RE SEEKING:

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION in FERC AND PG&E DECISION-MAKING about Wave Energy off the Mendocino Coast

HALT DEPLOYMENT of Wave Energy Test Buoys until further completion of non-deployment studies

PG&E — BE A REAL PARTNER. File Letters in Support of Fort Bragg’s, Mendocino’s and FISH’s re-hearings to Intervene at FERC.

MORATORIUM on MENDOCINO WAVE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT NOW!

NEXT STEPS:

FORMING a Mendocino Coast Wave Energy stakeholder group in early April 2008.

JOIN US for the First Meeting of he Mendocino Coast Wave Energy stakeholders group on TUESDAY, APRIL 8TH, 7PM in Fort Bragg at the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 367 S. SANDERSON WAY near Dana Grey.

Thank you for your participation!

For more info, go to MendoCoastCurrent; http://MendoCoastCurrent.wordpress.com;

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