Hydropower

PG&E to Study Wave Power in Humboldt & Mendocino Counties

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) applied for two preliminary permits to secure priority application rights with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a first step toward developing generation projects that could convert the abundant wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties into electricity.

Named “WaveConnect,” the proposed developments would extend PG&E’s environmental leadership by providing its customers with a new source of clean, renewable power. As part of its feasibility analysis, PG&E will solicit and incorporate input from local communities and interested governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. PG&E intends to use the most effective technologies for the wave energy projects. If fully developed, the projects could each provide up to 40 megawatts (MW) of clean renewable electric supply. “The waters off the coast of Humboldt and Mendocino Counties have excellent wave power potential,” said Fong Wan, PG&E’s vice president of energy procurement. “The development of this new type of energy resource, which generates electricity from the movement of water near the surface of the ocean, is one of the many sources of clean, non-polluting, renewable energy that PG&E is aggressively pursuing.” The WaveConnect projects will begin with resource, environmental, and ocean use studies and — if developed — would use wave energy conversion (WEC) devices to transform the energy of ocean waves into clean, renewable electricity. This would be the first application in North America for a project that would allow multiple WEC device manufacturers to demonstrate their devices on a common site, which could help accelerate the development of wave energy technology. PG&E, as the lead developer, will be responsible for the permitting of the sites and will encourage the participation of multiple WEC device manufacturers in the projects.