U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

First Ocean Wave Energy Project Licensed in Washington State

January 9, 2008

Washington is the first state in the nation to have an ocean energy project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Finavera Renewables Inc., developer of the test project, also signed the nation's first power purchase agreement for a wave power plant.

FERC announced in late December that it issued a conditional 5-year license to Finavera's Makah Bay Offshore Wave Pilot Project, located 1.9 nautical miles off the shore of Waatch Point in Clallam County. The license is conditioned on Finavera obtaining all necessary federal permits for the 1-megawatt (MW) project, which will consist of four 250-kilowatt floating buoys connected to shore by a 3.7-mile underwater transmission cable. To retain its license, Finavera must start construction within 2 years and must complete construction within 3 years of the license date. See Finavera's description of the pilot project and the FERC press release and order (PDF 192 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Just days before receiving its FERC license, Finavera signed a power purchase agreement with California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the power produced by its proposed 2-MW wave power plant to be located off the state's northern coast. Finavera proposes to build the Humboldt County Offshore Wave Energy Power Plant about 2.5 miles off the coast, with power production expected to begin in 2012. The facility will use Finavera's "AquaBuOYs," tethered buoys that use wave motion to force pressurized seawater through hoses. The pressurized water then drives a turbine to produce electricity. See the PG&E press release and Finavera's description of its AquaBuOY wave energy converters.

Source: January 9 article in EERE Network News

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