Posts Tagged ‘Wave Energy Blogger’

DAVID R. BAKER, Village Green/SFGate.com, July 23, 2008

Drilling for undersea oil along the east and west coasts has quickly turned into one of America’s loudest political fights, as anyone reading the comments on SFGate can attest. But it’s not the Bush administration’s only plan for offshore energy.

For the past few years, the administration has been studying how to open the coasts to renewable energy projects, things like wave farms and underwater turbines designed to generate electricity by harnessing the tides. The Minerals Management Service — the same federal agency that sells offshore oil leases — has quietly pieced together a program to grant leases for testing renewable energy projects at sea.

On July 23, 2007, the service reported that it would move forward with the lease program, which will include two locations along the northern California coast.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California’s largest utility, wants a lease to study wave power off of Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Oil giant Chevron proposed a similar study along Mendocino but later dropped the project. A smaller company, Marine Sciences of San Diego, is seeking a lease that would cover some of the same offshore areas as PG&E’s Humboldt proposal.

The Minerals Management Service wants PG&E and Marine Sciences to collaborate on the project, rather than grant the two companies overlapping leases. Each lease will cover a specific patch of the ocean and will run for five years. Companies receiving the leases will be allowed to test equipment at sea — equipment such as buoys that generate electricity as they bob up and down on the waves. But the companies will not be allowed to set up commercial operations there.

Before any leases are handed out, the service will continue studying potential environmental pitfalls. Some north coast residents worry that a cluster of power-generating bouys tethered to the seafloor could interfere with fishing or the migration of whales. The service would like to start handing out leases as early as this fall and may be able to do so with some sites on the east coast. But the California leases could easily take longer, said service spokesman John Romero.

“The hope is we can do these things sooner than later, but bottom line, we’re not going to compromise the environmental review process,” he said.

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Publishers Note: In early August 2008, FERC Denied Rehearing the Mendocino Coast related to the following post. This is one in a series of actions that Federal Government has taken to obstruct community involvement and begin the necessary dialog on environmental concerns.

MendoCoastCurrent, July 21, 2008

An alliance of Northern California coast commercial and recreational fishing associations known as Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics (FISH) has announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is extending its time to consider the FISH committee request for public participation and environmental analysis in developing federal licensing regulations for nascent wave energy generation projects.

In this Request for Rehearing to FERC, the FISH committee seeks a public-notice-and-comment rulemaking process for the federal licensing of hydrokinetic (wave energy) FERC energy development projects, implementation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and compliance with other federal laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. Also joining in this request are the County of Mendocino, the City of Fort Bragg, the Recreational Fishing Alliance and Lincoln County, Oregon.

As the Mendocino coast may lead the United States in wave energy generation exploration, it’s evident to the FISH Committee, coastal governments and concerned citizens that there is a need for responsible federal energy development guidelines and practices including national regulations and environmental impact study before any FERC wave energy licenses are issued. These sought-after guidelines and procedures require rulemaking with public participation in tandem with environmental impact analysis through-out the wave energy development process, including the offshore experimental and pilot stages of exploration.

In the past, the FERC response to concerns on wave energy development has been to exclude rulemaking and shun public input. A comment made by FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller and noted in a New York Times article underlines their position, “Let’s get this stuff in the water and find out what it has to offer.”

Unlike FERC, a related federal agency also involved in wave energy development, the Minerals Management Service or MMS, is utilizing a public process to develop regulations for ocean wave energy projects and has completed a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

The project areas of consideration are two wave energy projects proposed for the coast off Mendocino County, one of the most productive marine areas on the West Coast. One proposal covers 68 square miles, and the second covers 17 square miles. Both wave energy projects would require significant exclusion zones in the last remaining fishing grounds off Mendocino County.

“Naturally, fishermen are concerned whenever we hear proposals to close off big areas of the ocean to fishing, but we’re just as concerned about the potential environmental impacts to marine species our fisheries depend on,” said Jim Martin of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), a national grassroots political lobby for saltwater sportfishermen, and one of the founding members of FISH. “We hope FERC uses the extra time it has extended itself to carefully consider these issues and do the right thing.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 21, 2008

On July 15, 2008 Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced launching an investigation into two companies developing and operating wind farms across New York state amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

Subpoenas were served on First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Noble Environmental Power, LLC. They are part of an investigation into whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions; and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

In recent months, the Office of the Attorney General has received numerous complaints regarding the two companies from citizens, groups and public officials in eight counties alleging improper relations between the companies and local officials and other improper practices.

“The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 19, 2008, 6:30 pm

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 54,817 acres

Containment: 100% contained

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 1 residence and 1 outbuilding

Injuries: 47

Evacuations: All Evacuations have been lifted

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers are on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 1,922 (917 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 102

Fire crews: 60

Helicopters 8

Dozers: 12

Water tenders: 28

Costs to date: $48.5 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex consisted of 129 fires that burned in Mendocino County.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident.

Favorable weather conditions are expected to continue over the next several days.

Containment of all fires on the Mendocino Lightning Complex has been achieved.

Residents are reminded that smoke and flare-ups may continue within control lines.

Firefighters will continue to extinguish any remaining hot spots and will be patrolling all fires for several weeks.

Fixed wing and rotary aircraft will continue to operate in fire areas to ensure complete extinguishment of all fires.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 18, 2008, 7:00 am

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 53,300

Containment: 100% contained

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 1 residence and 1 outbuilding

Injuries: 46

Fatalities: 1

Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers have been placed on standby

Cause: Lightning Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,088 (1,002 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 119

Fire crews: 63

Helicopters 10

Dozers: 18

Water tenders: 45

Costs to date: $45.8 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex consisted of 129 fires that burned in Mendocino County.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident. Favorable weather conditions are expected to continue over the next several days. Containment of all fires on the Mendocino Lightning Complex has been achieved.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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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




(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,


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 the Requests for Rehearing from Fort Bragg, Mendocino County & FISH. The article below was written before that decision was handed down.

MendoCoastCurrent, May 6, 2008

On May 5, 2008, Mendocino County filed their response to PG&E’s comments related to Mendocino County’s Request for Rehearing on the Wave Energy project off the Mendocino coast. This is the latest filing at FERC in response to PG&E’s bid to explore wave energy on the Mendocino coast near Fort Bragg, California.

Mendocino County’s position is that PG&E brought no new information in their comment about Mendocino’s Request for Rehearing, although the issues around the initial notification on the wave energy preliminary permit are highlighted. Mendocino makes the case that PG&E had no statutory requirement or obligation to notify as the Federal Powers Act places the written notice obligation “squarely with the Commission.”

Originally, PG&E’s commented that there was an ‘extreme delay’ in Mendocino’s seeking the rehearing and Mendocino claims their Motion to Intervene “was filed as soon as possible after the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors was presented with the details of the WaveConnect permit application at its September 19, 2007 meeting.”

So due to the Commission’s failure to meet their own standards with regard to written notice and no basis for PG&E’s position of ‘extreme delay’ in requesting Intervener status, the “only reasonable resolution at this time is rescission” of the preliminary permit.

Mendocino addresses PG&E’s vagueness of the wave energy project description (proposed project locations, number of wave energy converters) in the preliminary permit application and adds that “the local community was denied both the opportunity to investigate the feasibility of a competing applications and a voice regarding the terms and execution of the permit itself.”

Additionally, Mendocino has requested their own requirements for any wave energy project off the Mendocino coast, essentially defining its own process to include more checks and balances as well as transparency of plans and findings to local governments and the public:

  • Within one year of permit issue, PG&E shall submit a plan to FERC and Mendocino that details type, number and location of devices for study within the next five years;
  • PG&E shall provide local government with access to all consultant reports, findings and communications related to environmental impact and other impacts resulting from construction, operation and removal of the proposed project;
  • PG&E shall promptly notify Mendocino if it sets up any obstruction, measuring devices, observable towers or other equipment in permit area;
  • PG&E shall notify Mendocino if it decides to surrender the permit;
  • After consultation with Mendocino, PG&E shall remove any and all equipment constructed or installed within the permit area if it decides to surrender their permit;
  • Within one year of permit issue, PG&E shall submit a plan to FERC and Mendocino detailing removable of all equipment at the end of permit period;
  • PG&E shall give Mendocino all evaluation and monitoring from the proposed research projects and provide regular updates of findings, also making this available to the public;
  • Upon submitting Notice of Intent or Pre-Application Document to [license] the project, PG&E shall provide Mendocino a full description of all alternative project proposals under consideration by PG&E as well as related studies and reasons for accepting or rejecting.

Mendocino states “had the County had an opportunity to intervene in the preliminary permit proceedings, the County would have not only had an opportunity to determine the feasibility of a competing project but the County would have also raised its concerns about the vagueness of the project description and to propose additional permit conditions to clarify the project.”

Mendocino adds its wish to have had ample time to intervene and consider partnering with adjacent counties or private entities regarding a competing application as well as ample time to propose additional permit conditions to meaningfully participate.

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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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MendoCoastCurrent, April 24, 2008

Since late 2007 PG&E has dispatched government relations and program managers to broadcast their pledge and intention to work with Mendocino County Supervisors, Fort Bragg Councilpersons, FISH (Fishermen Interested in Safe Hydrokinetics) and Concerned Coastal Residents as they move swiftly to explore wave energy development off the Mendocino Coast. Based on current actions, PG&E is working all sides of the Mendocino Coast, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) and PG&E renewable energy corporate goals to move their agenda forward.

Mendocino Coast Citizens, County, FISH and Fort Bragg reactions have been leery and FERC indicates ‘a little too late.’ Local government asserts that when Mendocino, FISH and Fort Bragg missed important response dates in the FERC proceedings, it was due to FERC and PG&E failing to provide the required timely, local, written notice of PG&E’s Application for the Preliminary Permit.

Meanwhile in public meetings, letters and in conversations, PG&E has voiced support of Fort Bragg’s, FISH’s and the County of Mendocino’s move to Intervene in FERC/PG&E Preliminary Permit going so far as to express ‘surprise’ of the FERC/PG&E Preliminary Permit issuance (on March 13, 2008 ) in a comment at a Town Hall meeting. Then PG&E sent letters (Ft. Bragg, Mendocino County, FISH) of concern when FERC denied their efforts to Intervene on March 5, 2008.

The Mendocino public requested PG&E to file Letters of Support for Intervener Status in the FERC docket. PG&E lawyers decided to reject that request when they filed an Answer to Mendocino County’s Request for Re-Hearing, opposing Mendocino’s Request for Re-Hearing on the FERC Denial of Intervener status, mostly supporting that their notice was correct when they failed to provide the required local, written notice as required by FERC.

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Updates from Frank Hartzell’s article announcing FERC’s granting of GreenWave’s application:

On December 9, 2008  “the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a Southern California development company exclusive rights to 17 square miles off the town of Mendocino for a wave energy study.

GreenWave LLC’s intent is to eventually produce a 100 megawatt wave energy power plant, more than twice as big as the 40 megawatt project Pacific Gas & Electric plans off Fort Bragg.

Due to redefining of the preliminary permit process by FERC, the new preliminary permit does not encourage in-water testing. It does give sole claim and study rights to GreenWave, blocking any local study of the same area.

More valuable, the preliminary permit gives GreenWave exclusive first rights to a license to build a wave energy farm, upon completion of the three-year study.

The preliminary permit came more than a year after GreenWave, of Thousand Oaks, filed for two preliminary permits. FERC had initially rejected the GreenWave application as too sketchy.

GreenWave also was granted a preliminary permit on Tuesday for a nearly identical proposal off San Luis Obispo.



DAVID SNEED, The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, April 2008

A Southern California company is eyeing the coastline off Montaña de Oro State Park to study the feasibility of an emerging renewable energy technology—converting wave action to electricity.

Green Wave Energy Solutions LLC has laid claim to a three-mile-wide swath of ocean a mile off the tip of the Morro Bay sand spit to Point Buchon —17 square miles in all — in which it hopes to eventually test the feasibility of wave power.

The Thousand Oaks company has applied to federal energy officials for permission to do the study.

“We’re still early on in development, but we feel there is a tremendous window of opportunity to do this,” said Wayne Burkamp, a San Francisco attorney who is GreenWave’s president.

The application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit would not give the company permission to put wave energy devices in the water. Rather, it would give the company three years to study the feasibility of wave energy.

“It’s like a mining claim,” said Allison Detmer, director of the state Coastal Commission’s energy program.

The application is one of several before FERC laying claim to coastal waters of California for possible development of wave energy.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) recently received a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

Green Wave also has an application for the Mendocino coast. Wave energy projects are also in the works in Oregon and Washington.

The San Luis Obispo County project is the southernmost.

Undecided technology

Neither the PG&E nor GreenWave applications state what type of wave energy devices would be used.

Two types are under development, Burkamp said. Both use the up-and-down motion of waves to generate electricity. One consists of a snake-like line of tubes floating on the surface of the ocean that undulates as waves pass by. The other employees a buoy that uses the pitching and heaving motions caused by waves to generate power.

Green Wave officials aren’t providing additional details on what technology they might use.

“Given the time horizon for getting through the permitting process (which could be years) and the uncertainties of what the technologies will actually look like, GreenWave believes it would be misleading to provide detailed specifications of a technology at this stage,” Burkamp wrote in the application to FERC.

A wave power facility off San Luis Obispo County could generate as much as 100 megawatts of power, the application states. That’s enough power for about 90,000 homes.

By contrast, Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant generates 2,200 megawatts.

The company anticipates spending as much as $2 million during the initial feasibility phase, while actual installation of a wave-power facility would cost as much as $40 million.

Regulatory hurdles

According to the application, Green Wave’s study area is one to three and a half miles offshore and seven miles long. Wave energy components would not be visible from shore, Burkamp said.

“A project area of this size is required to allow flexibility for performing the necessary assessments and properly siting the project components,” the application reads.

This area was chosen because of its abundant wave action and its proximity to Morro Bay. The city has a port and power plant, where electricity generated by a wave power plant could land and hook into the power grid, Burkamp said.

He said a test project could be in the water within a year to a year and a half. However, Coastal Commission officials say the establishment of a wave power facility anywhere in California is years away.

“This industry is very young, and they need to do a lot of testing first,” Detmer said.

Wave power facilities would also face many regulatory hurdles. Burkamp estimates that a facility would require 26 federal, state and local permits.

Placing wave energy devices in the water and laying transmission lines on the ocean floor would both require coastal development permits, Detmer said. Projects located farther off shore than three miles would be under the jurisdiction of the federal Minerals Management Service.

Environmental groups are reacting with caution to the recent interest in wave power. They support the idea of renewable energy sources such as wave power, but are waiting for details about specific projects.

“We think it’s important that all of these projects proceed with caution,” said Rick Wilson, coastal management director with the Surfrider Foundation. “Even though this is clean, green technology, there can be potential impacts to fishing and environmental impacts.”

Possible environmental impacts include noise, increased vessel traffic and blockage of whale migration routes.

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TIMM HERDT, Ventura County Star, April 23, 2008

Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland of Moorpark, who has spent his entire adult life either working in the Legislature or running for political office, has decided to present himself to voters this year wearing the mantle of a newfound vocation: “Alternative Energy Executive.”

That is the ballot designation Strickland, a Republican, chose when he filed in March to run for the 19th Senate District.

Strickland, 38, says the description accurately reflects his station in life. Some of his critics, however, believe he is using the title to deceptively present himself to voters as a friend of the environment.

The title will appear under his name on the ballot. It refers to his position as vice president and partner in a startup company, founded in June, called Green Wave Energy Solutions. The company has filed applications with the Federal Energy Commission to develop two projects off the California coast.

It hopes eventually to produce electricity from a nascent technology that seeks to harness energy from ocean waves. Strickland is one of five partners who each pledged to put up $5,000 to start the company, although Strickland acknowledges he has yet to pay his share.

“I believe I am going to be successful in this company.” Strickland said. “I’ve always thought alternative energy will be very profitable. I think it will be the wave of the future.”

Strickland went to work out of college as an aide to then-Assemblyman Tom McClintock. In 1998, at age 28, he became one of the youngest members ever elected to the Legislature. Until his association with the new company, his whole life had been politics.

The ballot designation has raised eyebrows among environmentalists, who assert he is using the title solely in an attempt to favorably introduce himself to environmental-minded voters in Santa Barbara County, a part of the district in which he is unknown.

“That’s a complete scam,” said Bill Magavern, California advocacy director for the Sierra Club. “For him to pose as a supporter of alternative energy is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of voters.”

Magavern noted that Strickland, as a member of the Assembly, voted against a 2002 law that expanded the demand for alternative energy by requiring utility companies to supply more of their electrical power from renewable energy sources. That law, in essence, created a virtually guaranteed market for any power that a future wave-energy project might produce.

California’s Elections Code allows candidates to place a designation beneath their names on the ballot. Incumbents can list that status and those who currently hold elected office can list that title. Candidates cannot cite offices they formerly held.

In the 19th Senate District, both candidates — Strickland and Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson — are former members of the Assembly. As private citizens, they had to choose some other description. The law allows them to use “no more than three words designating current principal professions, vocations or occupations.”

Jackson, who spent 22 years working as an attorney before being elected to the Assembly in 1998, chose the designation “educator.” Although she is still a member of the California Bar, she said she did not choose “attorney” because she has not practiced law in a decade.

Because she taught at UC Santa Barbara as the university’s “public policymaker in residence” from the time she left office in 2004 until last June, she said, she opted for “educator.” From March 2007 to March 2008, she reported making $50,000 as an educator.

After leaving office in 2004, Strickland became president of the limited-government advocacy group the California Club for Growth, a post he was forced to resign when he ran for state controller in 2006. On that ballot, he designated himself as “Taxpayer Organization President.”

Since then, his statement of economic interests shows his only source of income has been as a consultant for a firm he manages called New Market Strategies, a position for which his report shows he received income of more than $10,000 and less than $100,000. He acknowledges he has received no income from GreenWave, since the company has yet to generate any revenues.

Something of an art form

Selecting a ballot designation has become something of an art form in political campaigns in California. Typically, candidates pick designations that appeal to the constituencies of their parties — “educator” for Democrats, for instance, or “businessman” for Republicans.

“It’s one of the more interesting things to deal with,” said GOP consultant Kevin Spillane, who is not associated with the Strickland campaign. “It’s one of the things you can control, but it has strange limitations on it. I’ve actually gone to court over ballot designations.”

In the early stages of the campaign, Strickland has sought to capitalize on the positive associations with alternative energy among voters. Introductory radio commercials he aired in Santa Barbara in December emphasized his affiliation with the fledgling energy company. In a March news release announcing the official kickoff of his campaign, he prominently described himself as “vice president of a renewable energy company he helped found.”

Other partners in the company include Thousand Oaks developer Gary Gorian and Ventura County Board of Education member Dean Kunicki.

Gorian, whose development company contributed $3,000 to Strickland’s 2006 campaign, describes himself as a longtime friend. Strickland said it was Gorian who first alerted him to the business and to the potential for wave energy production.

In addition to the partners, the company has two volunteer employees — Chris Wangsaporn, who is managing Strickland’s Senate campaign, and Joel Angeles, chief of staff to Strickland’s wife, Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, and a consultant to Tony Strickland’s campaign.

Gaining ‘sweat equity’

Although the two are not being paid, Strickland said they have been promised future considerations for the “sweat equity” they are devoting to helping the company get off the ground.

Strickland said his agreement gives him a 20% ownership in Green Wave. His responsibilities are “to guide the company on a strategic level. I’m there to coach on government affairs issues.”

He also serves as a company spokesman to the media and was recently quoted extensively in a Mendocino County newspaper story reporting on Green Wave’s application for a project off that county’s coast. That wave energy project and another proposed by Pacific Gas & Electric have generated environmental concerns in the area.

Jackson, the Democratic candidate, said she considered but rejected the idea of challenging whether Strickland’s involvement with a nascent company met the legal definition of being a “principal vocation or occupation” required to justify his ballot designation.

“It defies credibility,” she said. “I don’t think the public is easily fooled.”

Magavern of the Sierra Club notes that during Strickland’s six years in the Assembly he received poor ratings for his environmental record. “In general, Strickland had a zero record from both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters,” he said.

One key bill Strickland opposed is the law generally credited with jump-starting the market for alternative energy in California. SB1078, passed in 2002, requires investor-owned utilities such as Southern California Edison to obtain at least 20 percent of the electrical power they supply from renewable energy sources.

They must increase their renewable energy portfolio by at least 1 percent a year until they meet that 20 percent goal.

That bill passed the Assembly on a 55-23 vote. Although it was supported mostly by Democrats, a number of Republican lawmakers joined with them, including new Senate Republican leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto.

Strickland said he voted no because he opposes government mandates.

“When there is a demand for something — and there is a public demand for alternative energy — the private sector will meet it,” he said. “I don’t believe the government needs to come in and mandate it.”

Political consultant Spillane said that in the end, the candidates’ ballot designations will have little effect in what is expected to be a free-spending, high-profile campaign.

“Ballot designations are crucial in lower visibility races,” he said. “But in this race it’s not going to matter that much. If people don’t know who Tony is now, by the time this race is over, they will.”

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MMS nominated both Humboldt and Mendocino lease areas last Friday. See following for full details, emphasis added.

Federal Register: April 18, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 76)


Minerals Management Service – Docket No. MMS-2008-OMM-0020

Notice of Nominations Received and Proposed Limited Alternative Energy Leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and Initiation of Coordination and Consultation

AGENCY: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Interior.

ACTION: Announcement of nominations and processing priorities, inquiry on competing nominations for proposed limited alternative energy leases, and request for comments from interested and affected parties.


SUMMARY: On November 6, 2007, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) published in the Federal Register (72 FR 214, pp. 62673-62675) a request for information and nominations of areas for leases authorizing alternative energy

[[Page 21153]]

resource assessment and technology testing activities pursuant to
subsection 8(p) of the OCS Lands Act, as amended.
We received over 40 nominations of areas for limited leases
authorizing such activities relating to wind, wave, and ocean current
energy resources on the OCS. The MMS has considered the nominations in
light of relevant criteria for proceeding with the issuance of leases.
As required by subsection 8(p), MMS must issue such leases on a
competitive basis unless we determine after public notice that there is
no competitive interest. Subsection 8(p) also requires MMS to
coordinate and consult with relevant Federal agencies and affected
State and local governments concerning the issuance of OCS alternative
energy leases. This Notice provides the required public notice of
proposed leases by announcing the nominations that MMS has decided to
process as a priority and inquiring as to the existence of any
competitive interest in these nominated areas. Also, with this
announcement we intend to inform all interested and affected parties of
these nominations and invite comments and information–including
information on environmental issues and concerns–that will be useful
in our consideration of the nominated areas for the issuance of limited
alternative energy leases.

DATES: The MMS requests any competing nominations and relevant comments and information by May 19, 2008. As it pertains to nominations, this is a strict deadline, and nominations received after the deadline will be not be considered by MMS for the purpose of determining competitive interest in the areas originally nominated. Other comments may be submitted within 60 days.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments by one of two methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Under
the tab “More Search Options,” click “Advanced Docket Search,” then
select “Minerals Management Service” from the agency drop-down menu,
then click “submit.” In the Docket ID column, select MMS-2008-OMM-
0020 to submit public comments and to view supporting and related
materials available for this rulemaking. Information on using
Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing documents,
submitting comments, and viewing the docket after the close of the
comment period, is available through the site’s “User Tips” link. The
MMS will post all comments.
(2) Mailing your comments to the following address: Minerals
Management Service, Offshore Minerals Management, Alternative Energy
and Alternate Use Team, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Maureen Bornholdt, Minerals
Management Service, Offshore Minerals Management, 381 Elden Street,
Mail Stop 4080, Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817, (703) 787-1300.

Public Comment Policy. Before including your address, phone number,
e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your
submission, you should be aware that your entire submission–including
your personal identifying information–may be made publicly available
at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot
guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Background. Under the interim policy described in the November 6,
2007, Federal Register Notice referenced above, MMS stated its
intention to issue limited OCS alternative energy leases for a term of
5 years that would authorize resource assessment and technology testing
activities, subject to specific terms and conditions. That Notice
invited respondents who wish to acquire limited OCS alternative energy
leases to nominate areas of interest by January 7, 2008. On December
14, 2007, MMS published in the Federal Register (72 FR 240, pp. 71152-
71157) a Notice of new information collection that presented a proposed
“Lease of Submerged Lands for Alternative Energy Activities on the
OCS” and requested comments by February 12, 2008.
In addition to the nominations submitted by prospective lessees,
MMS received numerous comments from proponents of OCS alternative
energy development, including industry associations. Several of those
comments stated that the interim policy should be revised to provide a
right to commercial development for those who acquire leases for
resource assessment and technology testing. As MMS stated in the
November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice, the interim policy is
intended to permit the collection of resource assessment and technology
testing data in support of future development activity without any
priority right for future commercial development. It is designed to
begin the process in the acquisition of needed information about a
variety of OCS conditions under a relatively simple authorizing
process. Conveyance of full commercial development rights would entail
a much lengthier and complicated process than MMS is willing to
undertake at this time under the interim policy.
Therefore, MMS reiterates and reaffirms its interim policy as
originally formulated and proposed. Further, in the absence of
promulgated rules, MMS does not plan to revise the interim policy or
adopt a new policy to authorize commercial development of OCS
alternative energy. We will continue to defer consideration of
commercial OCS alternative energy projects until regulations governing
alternative energy activities on the OCS are in place, except with
respect to the two proposed projects that are the subject of the
savings provision of section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Prospective lessees, both the original nominators and those
responding to this Notice, must show that they are qualified to hold an
OCS lease before MMS will consider their proposals. The qualifications
for holders of OCS oil and gas leases set forth at 30 CFR 256.35
provide useful guidance in this regard to prospective limited
alternative energy lessees. Limited alternative energy lease holders
must also comply with all terms and conditions of their lease (see the
December 14, 2007, Federal Register Notice of the proposed lease form).
As stated in the November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice proposing
the interim policy, a limited lease will grant the lessee the exclusive
right to conduct the activities identified in the lease on the
designated lease area. Acquisition of a limited lease will not grant
the lessee any rights with respect to the future acquisition of
commercial development rights for the leased site.
Nominations. We received nominations on the Atlantic and Pacific
Coasts. Most of the Atlantic Coast nominations are for meteorological
and oceanographic data collection facilities that would support wind
energy projects off of the coasts of Massachusetts, New York, New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia.
There also are nominations for areas off of the coast of Florida
focused on ocean current information collection and technology testing.
On the Pacific coast, the main interest is in wave energy, and nominations were received for areas off California, Oregon and Washington.
The MMS has decided to give priority consideration to issuing
limited leases for: (1) Data collection activities relating to wind
resources off of the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia; (2)
data collection and technology testing activities relating to current
resources off of the coast of Florida; and (3) data

[[Page 21154]]

collection and technology testing activities relating to wave resources off of the coast of Northern California. These locations of proposed OCS alterative energy limited leasing are described as follows:

Official protraction
Adjacent state diagram Block(s) Resource
1. New Jersey………………….. Hudson Canyon NJ 18-03. 6451………………….. Wind.
2. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6936 and 7131………….. Wind.
3. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6931………………….. Wind.
4. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 6738………………….. Wind.
5. New Jersey………………….. Wilmington NJ 18-02…. 7033………………….. Wind.
6. Delaware……………………. Salisbury NJ 18-05….. 6325………………….. Wind.
7. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6074………………….. Wind.
8. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6174………………….. Wind.
9. Georgia…………………….. Brunswick NH 17-02….. 6126………………….. Wind.
10. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-06……. 7103………………….. Current.
11. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-05……. 7040 and 7090………….. Current.
Bahamas NG 17-06……. 7001, 7002, 7003, 7004, ………………..
7005, 7006, 7007, 7051,
7052, 7053, 7054, 7055,
7056, 7057, 7104, 7105,
7106, and 7107.
12. Florida……………………. Bahamas NG 17-06……. 6702, 6703, 6704, 6705, Current.
6706, 6707, and 6708.
13. Florida……………………. Miami NG 17-08……… 6040………………….. Current.
14. Florida……………………. Bimini NG 17-09…….. 6001………………….. Current.
15. California…………………. Ukiah NJ 10-02……… 6405, 6455, 6456, 6504, Wave.
6505, 6506, 6554, 6555,
6604, 6605, 6654, 6655,
6704, and 6705.
16. California…………………. Eureka NK 10-10…….. 6031, 6032, 6033, 6080, Wave.
6081, 6082, 6083, 6130,
6131, 6132, 6133, 6179,
6180, 6181, 6182, 6229,
6230, 6231, 6232, 6279,
6280, 6281, 6330, and 6331.

The above locations refer to areas identified on the Official
Protraction Diagrams that are available from each MMS regional office
and online at http://www.mms.gov/ld/Maps.htm, and the areas are
identified as OCS blocks that are generally nine square miles in size.
The nominated areas may be located on those maps or on a map viewer
maintained by MMS at http://www.mms.gov/offshore/RenewableEnergy/
The MMS reviewed in detail all nominations we received and
established our priority areas for initial leasing in light of
considerations such as technological complexity, timing needs,
competing use issues, and relationships to relevant state-supported
renewable energy activities, as well as considerations relating to
limited available MMS staff and budget resources for processing and
managing limited leases. We also took into consideration the
desirability of authorizing the advancement of activities relating to
each of the alternative energy resource types cited in the
nominations–wind, current, and wave.
We chose proposed leasing locations off of the New Jersey and
Delaware coasts primarily because the installation of data collection
facilities relating to wind would support the concurrent efforts by
those States to foster commercial development of wind power on the
adjoining OCS. We also selected the area off of the coast of Georgia as
a site for limited leasing related to wind because of the ongoing
efforts of Southern Company and the Georgia Institute of Technology
Strategic Energy Institute to acquire wind data to determine the
technical and economic feasibility of locating an OCS wind energy
project off of the coast of Georgia. Their efforts include the use of
existing U.S. Navy meteorological and oceanographic data collection
platforms and other lower elevation facilities for several years. They
now propose to gather critical data at a substantially higher height.
We chose proposed leasing locations off of the coast of Florida,
because the data collection and technology testing activities relate to
ocean currents. The State of Florida has supported ocean current
research through the Florida Atlantic University Center of Excellence
in Ocean Energy Technology, which includes several academic, Federal
Government, and private industry participants.
We chose two proposed leasing locations off of the coast of Northern California, specifically offshore Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, because the data collection and technology testing activities relate to ocean wave activities. The areas were nominated to conduct alternative energy resource assessment and technology testing with respect to the WaveConnect Projects proposed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company in each area. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company has sought or obtained permits from other Federal agencies and has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission for funds to conduct studies related to these projects.
It is important to note that MMS has not made any final decision to
award leases in the areas identified in this Notice. We have identified
these areas as our priorities for potentially authorizing limited
leases under this interim policy, and through this Notice we are
soliciting comments to determine if competitive interest exists in
these areas. Nominations that were not selected for processing as a
priority, as well as additional nominations received in the future, may
be processed by MMS at a later date. We have chosen to process a lease
or group of leases relating to each type of alternative energy resource
in accordance with our staff and budget resources and associated timing
considerations. Many of the nominations that were not selected for
priority processing appear to entail complex technology (e.g., new
deeper-water designs) or environmental or conflicting use concerns that
would make processing them more difficult and time consuming.
Request for Competing Nominations. As stated above, the areas that
have been nominated for proposed alternative energy limited leases are
identified as blocks on the OCS Official Protraction Diagrams. While we
received some nominations for areas smaller than OCS blocks, we have
decided that the minimum size for limited leases issued under the
interim policy will be a block or aggregation of blocks but will not be
smaller than a block. Upon acquisition of such a lease, a lessee may
contract the

[[Page 21155]]

original lease area by relinquishing aliquot parts of the lease, a part
as small as \1/16\ of a block.
We request respondents who wish to compete for limited leases for
the areas identified in this Notice to submit a nomination identifying
the block(s) in which you are interested, the resource(s) you want to
assess (e.g., wind, current, wave) and the technology you want to test.
Also, provide a general description of the type and number of
installations or technologies you would use and a project schedule for
the activities you propose. Your nomination of an area must be
consistent with the type of alternative energy resource identified for
that area (e.g., a nomination off of the coast of New Jersey must
pertain to data collection activities relating to wind resources). A
nomination that is not consistent with the resource identified for a
specific area will not be considered. The block(s) you wish to nominate
should be identified using the information on Official Protraction
Diagrams available as described above. Also, if you submit such a
nomination, please provide the name, telephone number, and e-mail
address of an individual for the MMS to contact.
With this request MMS is inviting nominations from parties who have
not previously submitted nominations for the areas identified in this
Notice and are interested in acquiring leases only for one or more of
the blocks listed above. Those who have already submitted nominations
for these areas should not resubmit the same nomination. A nomination
received in response to the November 6, 2007, Federal Register Notice
will be considered active unless the original nominator notifies MMS in
writing that the nominator is no longer interested in obtaining a lease
for the area originally nominated. If an original nominator is
interested in competing for a lease area identified in this Notice and
it was not the original nominator of that site, it must submit a new
nomination for that lease area as provided in this Notice. If you have
not already submitted a nomination and wish to submit one for an area
listed above, you must submit by the deadline stated above. Late
submissions will not be considered.
MMS Analysis of Nominations. The MMS will consider the nominations
received in response to this Notice along with the original
nominations. We will determine that there is competitive interest for
any proposed lease area that receives more than one nomination and that
there is no competitive interest for any area that receives only one
nomination. In instances where our analysis determines that there is
competitive interest, we will contact the competing nominators to
explore options for collaboration or refinements of proposals before
considering options for proceeding with a competitive auction. If we
receive a competing nomination that only partially overlaps a multiple-
block original nomination, we may determine that there is no
competition, because in such a case the proposed lease area subject to
competition would comprise the entire multiple-block original
nomination. However, based on the information we receive in response to
this notice, MMS may decide to issue a subsequent public notice
requesting expressions of interest in the partial area where the
competing nominations overlap separate from the remainder of the
multiple-block area proposed for lease.
In instances where our analysis concludes that there is no
competitive interest in a previously nominated area, we will contact
the nominators and proceed with noncompetitive lease issuances as time
and resources allow. However, we may first choose to explore options
for collaboration in the interest of optimizing efficiency. The MMS
will publicly announce the results of its analyses to determine
competitive interest and its intentions to proceed with the issuance of

Coordination and Consultation

The MMS invites all interested and affected parties to submit comments and information pertaining to the nominated areas listed above. We believe such input would be useful as we consider these areas for limited leasing, and we especially welcome information concerning geographic characteristics and environmental resources, as this will assist us in our environmental review processes. We seek information on the nominated areas relating to other ocean and seabed uses, relationships to onshore energy markets of the nominated areas, and applicable State and local laws and policies. We also request comments and suggestions on how we may best coordinate and consult comprehensively and efficiently to comply with applicable Federal, State, and local laws and policies. Officials of MMS intend to contact Federal, State, and local government counterparts during the comment period to discuss the nominations and the process for issuing limited OCS alternative energy leases under the interim policy. Such discussions may explore methods to foster intergovernmental coordination, including whether to establish intergovernmental task forces with Federal, State, and local entities for this purpose.

Dated: April 2, 2008.
Randall B. Luthi,
Director, Minerals Management Service

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Dear Ocean Guardians:

Now that corporations and Washington D.C. have started claiming our coast for wave energy development, we must take a stand. We are called on behalf of our beloved Mendocino coast and the organisms inhabiting the vast and mighty ocean, source of all life on our Earth.

We embrace a focused intention to protect our Coast from unwieldy, untested, potentially polluting and environmentally disasterous renewable energy development, including wave energy development — most importantly wave energy device deployment without best-practice and thorough environmental testing and/or appropriate consent of related government organizations (i.e. local, state, county, coastal commission, environmental overseeing groups, fishermen organizations, etc.).

Our goal in protecting the ocean demands an Immediate Moratorium on all deployment, permits, studies and reservations of wave energy development rights on the Coast of Mendocino, whether it be in state or federal waters. This moratorium is called in response to PG&E’s Preliminary Permit with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Committee) that gives PG&E (and their consultants) the right to “study” our coast without OUR participation, judgment or care!

We shall not be shut out of this process!

Let us come together to protect our coast and defend it now!


Laurel Krause
Publisher, MendoCoastCurrent

To learn more about topics related to Wave Energy Development and the Mendocino coast, please go to MendoCoastCurrent at http://MendoCoastCurrent.wordpress.com; email laurelkrause “at” gmail.com.

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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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MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2008

wave_star_nissum_bredning_2006_182Wave Star Energy in scale 1:10 has now been in operation and grid connected since April 2006 at Nissum Bredning in the North Western corner of Denmark.

Since then the company’s test machine has logged almost 4.000 operational hours in the first six months of daily operation, been through seven significant storms and is a major step on the way towards commercial wave power.

The 1:10 scale model is 24 metres long and designed to stand in water which is a couple of metres deep and operates in waves which are 1:10 og fhte wave height in the North Sea.

The 20 floats on either side of the machine, which generate the electricity by being pressed upwards by the waves, are one metre in diameter and generate electricity from waves of a height of just 5 centimetres. But in spite of its size the test machine has been built in exactly the same way as the 240-metre long Wave Star machines of the future.

“The 1:10 machine is controlled in exactly the same way as the full-scale machine and this means that it provides us with practical operational experience,” explains Per Resen Steenstrup.

The test machine has an output of 5.5 kilowatt and can generate electrical power corresponding to the electrical power consumption of two single-family houses. The plan is that it will remain in Nissum Bredning until August 2008. Wave Star Energy has already begun work on the construction of a first series produced 1:2 model of the 6 megawatt machine, which is the ultimate goal.

“Each time the size of the machine is doubled – and can thereby operat in a wave height which is twice as high – the power of the machine increases 11 times. With wind turbines the effect is only quadrupled at the same wind speed,” says Per Resen Steenstrup.

This means that the 1:2 model will have an output of 500 kilowatt.

“As soon as we have tested the 1:2 model and documented its output data in the North Sea, we will begin to market the Wave Star machine. And the prospects are huge. To put it into context you could say that, in the course of the 25 or so years which the wind turbine industry has been in existence, it has succeeded in reducing the price per kilowatt hour roughly seven times. But we just need to reduce the price four times to get down to the same level,” explains Per Resen Steenstrup.

The Wave Star wave power machines will be designed for an operating life of approx. 50 years in an ocean environment. The plan is that the machine will undergo a major inspection every 10 years, when the machine will be towed into land, thereby avoiding costly offshore operations. In reality the machines will be written off in less than 20 years, so the remaining operating life represents pure profit.

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MendoCoastCurrent tracks the world of Clean Energy technology, research, development, news and funding.

As the Mendocino coast may become home to Wave Energy development, MendoCoastCurrent focuses on informing and exploring our role as stewards of the awesome Mendocino coastal ecosystem.

It is MendoCoastCurrent’s vision to develop a Clean Energy campus (wind, solar, biofuels, wave, desalination, etc.) for energy incubators, start-ups, educational programs and consortium, situated on an unused, 400+ acre coastal waterfront, now-defunct Georgia-Pacific Mill Site.

We are offered this opportunity to create an energy research and technology development center that implements best practices in clean technology research and development. All housed and working within a green constructed campus and tech center, along with community space and integration. Responsibly enabling the Mill Site to become a healthy and thriving environment to work, learn and grow! Situated on the wild and rustic Mendocino coast famous for its protected environs, sea and air.

Bio-remediation has an integral role in creating this healthy return from the remains of yesteryear’s Mill Site to a dream of clean energy development with zero carbon footprint, in balance with our world (and the next generations) as clean technologies are developed and explored. This, in turn, provides power to the local, coastal, community-owned power agency.

You may also look to MendoCoastCurrent for the latest ‘n greatest in Mendocino Clean Energy Technology development.

If you’re wishing to connect with us, please email laurelkrause (at) gmail.com.

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Sonoma County Press Release, November 5, 2007

Santa Rosa, CA– The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider taking action to secure and protect local control of offshore wave energy projects at their regular board meeting on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. If approved, the board would direct staff of the Sonoma County Water Agency to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a preliminary permit to conduct feasibility testing of hydrokinetic energy projects in the Pacific Ocean off of the Sonoma Coast.

“We’ll be taking a hard look at this proposal on Tuesday,” said Mike Reilly, Sonoma County Supervisor and former chair of the Coastal Commission. “I will be looking for assurance that our actions work toward protection of our marine resources and that we don’t cede local control of our coastline to business interests or federal regulators in far-away places.” Reilly added. The proposed board action would direct Agency staff to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit to conduct feasibility studies and testing of technologies to develop wave energy resources, also known as hydrokinetic energy. The preliminary permit area encompasses the entire Sonoma Coast out to 12 miles offshore. The application contemplates development of hydrokinetic energy technologies demonstration projects capable of generating from 2 to 5 megawatts of power.

“We don’t know at this time if the project will prove to be feasible but we do know that if we don’t pursue this, someone else will. We have to take a serious look at this proposal. I believe it would be better for the Agency to secure this permit and develop the resource because it gives us local control over the future of our coastline.” said Sonoma County Supervisor, Tim Smith.

The Sonoma County Water Agency, the largest electric power user in the North Bay region, has been aggressively developing and acquiring renewable energy sources to serve its needs. Currently the Agency holds 2 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power supply and has access to 6 megawatts of landfill biogas power. The Agency’s peak power demand is about 12 megawatts. The Agency is the primary water supplier for 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin Counties. “We are well on the way to becoming the first major water supplier in California to use 100% renewable power. That’s our goal and the project we are looking at today could be the one that pushes us over the top,” said Smith.

Advocates for marine sanctuaries and for local commercial fishing organizations have been closely following plans to develop wave energy projects in northern California particularly along the Sonoma Coast.

“We’re intrigued by wave energy generation as ‘green’ replacement power to enable removal of antiquated, fish-killing hydro dams,” commented Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “But these offshore facilities must be carefully placed so as not to obstruct fishing, shipping and recreation. That’s why it’s so important local government take the lead and not leave wave energy development to the whims of power companies.”

“Large industrial wave arrays may or may not represent significant energy potential, but the resulting displacement of our valuable fishing grounds and adverse impacts on sensitive marine ecosystems could irreparably damage our coastal-dependent economy unless such projects are done with extreme care.” said Richard Charter with Defenders of Wildlife, “We are unfortunately faced with a lawless land rush situation in our offshore waters right now, and either we wait for Chevron or a utility giant to take control of the Sonoma Coast, as has recently been happening in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, or our own Board of Supervisors acts proactively to assert local control.”

If approved by the Board, Agency staff would submit an application to FERC for a preliminary permit that would allow the Agency to begin feasibility studies of wave energy projects for the Sonoma Coast. Staff estimate that about $1.75 million in grant funding and Agency funds will be required to fund these studies and would return to the Board at a future date for approval of a financial plan.

Hydrokinetic energy permit applications have already been filed with FERC for ocean tracts in Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Mendocino County reportedly filed a motion to intervene in a FERC permit application submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation to develop wave energy resources offshore from the City of Fort Bragg. Two other wave energy applications are under consideration offshore from Humboldt County.

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Press Release, Mendocino County, October 17, 2007

The County of Mendocino has filed a Motion to Intervene in Pacific Gas & Electric’s Mendocino WaveConnect Project. This action is urgently necessary and required because the proposed project is located geographically in the County’s “backyard”, in the waters and on land adjacent to the County’s unparalleled and protectively developed coastline. While the County is certainly supportive of, and looks forward to, the possibility of a clean, renewable, energy source off its coastline, the potential for significant impacts to its coastal environment, its coastal communities and its economy, necessitates recognition of the County as a primary stake holder and participant as the Commission further considers PG&E’s Mendocino WaveConnect Project. The County filed the intervention with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has jurisdiction over these matters.

The County’s coastline generates roughly twenty-five percent (25%) of the County’s income in visitor services, tourist-related dollars, and tourism. No other party to this proceeding adequately represents the County’s interests and the County only recently became aware that its interests are not adequately represented.

On February 27, 2007, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) filed an application for a preliminary permit for a project entitled Mendocino WaveConnect Project, located in Mendocino County, California. The objective of this project is to “demonstrate the feasibility of generating electric power from waves off the coast of Mendocino County, California. PG&E will obtain data and perform the acts required to determine the feasibility of a large scale wave energy project up to 40 MW in installed capacity, and to support an application for a license for such a project.” At this time, pursuant to its application, PG&E’s proposed project includes installation of an unknown number of wave energy conversion devices that would float on the surface of the ocean anywhere from one-half to six miles offshore. These devices would be moored and anchored by power cables to an undersea junction box, to be connected by a 40-kilovolt-transmission line from the undersea junction box to appurtenant facilities located in or near the City of Fort Bragg, California.

Mendocino County is predominantly rural; approximately seventy percent (70%) of its 86,000 inhabitants live in the unincorporated areas of the County. Although PG&E’s application correctly asserts the City of Fort Bragg (“City”) is the only city with a population of 5,000 or more that lies within fifteen (15) miles of this wave energy project, and at is the preliminary proposed site of the project interconnect location, the proposed project potentially impacts the County’s entire 120 miles of coastline and its coastal populations for a number of reasons, necessitating the County’s intervention as a party to these proceedings.

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Chair Kendall Smith emphasized that the County’s adjacent coastal waters also support an active fishing industry community located both in and around the City of Fort Bragg and spans the entire length of the Mendocino Coast. This includes commercial and recreational fishing, crabbing, kelp harvesting, boating and navigation and other sports. The impact to the County’s fishing industry alone, valued last year at $5,763,0481, will undoubtedly have to be carefully examined and input from the fishing community seriously evaluated. PG&E does anticipate studying existing conditions to assess the potential effects of its project on three broad areas: marine life, use of sea space, and coastal processes. Its application covers a project four (4) miles wide in the east-west direction and seventeen (17) miles long in the north-south direction. Clearly, the project, the project assessment, and the project’s potential impact stretches beyond the confines of the City’s geographic boundaries and requires communication with, and participation by, the County as the project assessments are made and evaluated. Further, the County believes that it is highly likely that an impact in one area of its coastal waters will be readily transferred to adjacent areas of coastline by the actions of currents, patterns of marine migration, and channels of navigation.

“The County’s coastal resources are interconnected, fragile, and finite. The County believes its development must be undertaken only with extreme care, safe guarding both our economic and environmental resources,” stated Mendocino County Board Chair Kendall Smith.

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Summary from Argentco.com, April 2007

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s wave energy project, “WaveConnect,” has become the first project of its kind in North America to help accelerate the development of wave energy technology.

With the filing of two preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, PG&E plans to study whether it would be environmentally safe and economically feasible to generate electricity from wave power at two sites off the Mendocino and Humboldt county coasts.

If approved, PG&E plans to spend $3 million over the next three years exploring wave energy. If PG&E finds wave power to be profitable and safe for marine life, it would then build two wave-power generating facilities, each capable of producing approximately 40 megawatts of power per year. Forty megawatts would power an estimated 30,000 homes for a period of 12 months.

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MendoCoastCurrent is currently a stakeholder-based blog focused on clean technology and renewable energy developments in the world as well as wave energy developments on the Mendocino Coast

If you’re interested in learning more about MendoCoastCurrent…anything from posting to commenting to ‘what is this?’ go to the ‘Contact Us’ tab above and fill out the form.

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