Monday, December 14, 2009

First Offshore Wind Energy Facility in U.S.

The company Deepwater Wind announced a deal last week to sell power from the first phase of a Rhode Island project that eventually could supply 15 percent of the state's electricity. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, Deepwater Wind will sell electricity from up to 8 turbines producing 28 megawatts to National Grid Plc. Earlier this year Rhode Island set a target to obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2015.

Currently there are no offshore wind projects operating off the United States.

The other contender to become the first U.S. offshore wind farm is Cape Wind, a 130-turbine, $1 billion wind farm planned off the coast of Massachusetts, that has been mired in protests by critics.

The first phase of Deepwater's project, called the Block Island Wind Farm, is expected to start operations in 2013. Its turbines are planned to go up 3 miles off the coast of Block Island in state-owned waters. The project includes plans to build a transmission line to Block Island, which currently relies mostly on diesel fuel. Any excess electricity generated by the project that the island does not use will be fed to the state's main grid.

Deepwater also plans to build a larger utility-scale offshore wind power project in federal waters. The company could build the larger project in 2014 or 2015 and could grow it to 500 MW. Together the projects would generate about 1.3 million megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to meet 15 percent of the state's energy needs, and cost $1.5 billion.

Deepwater also plans to bid for a proposed utility-scale offshore wind project off New York in the first quarter of 2010.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Wave Energy Project Proposed for Central California

Pacific Gas & Electric is preparing to seek approval to study a future wave energy project located off the California coast near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The project, which could take years to become operational, would generate as much as 100 megawatts of power, providing permanent non-fossil-fueled electricity for the base in Santa Barbara County. PG&E is expected to seek the permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has been designated as the umbrella agency for wave energy project approval in the nation.

PG&E is already studying a wave energy power station in Humboldt Bay in Northern California and has launched a Web site,, to promote its initiatives.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oregon Wave Power Project Advances

Last Friday morning, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies announced that it had contracted with Oregon Iron Works to start building what it hopes will become a 10-buoy test system in the waters off Reedsport, Ore.

The first buoy is expected to deploy in a year. Two years after that, nine more buoys should go into the water. The fully deployed, $60 million system is expected to have a capacity of 1.5 megawatts — about half that of a single giant wind turbine (though the waves should be able to provide power around the clock, unlike the intermittent wind). OPT hopes to develop a much larger wave farm nearby that could have as many as 200 buoys.

The project will sit 2.5 miles offshore and connect to a Bonneville Power Administration substation. The project was being paid for with a combination of funds from Ocean Power, as well as federal dollars, Oregon tax breaks and money from the electric company, PNGC Power, which has agreed to purchase the power for its customers in Douglass County, Ore.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Offshore Wind Energy in the NE

Steve Lindenberg of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has prepared a presentation titled Offshore Renewable Energy Future in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region. Although the presentation focuses on offshore wind energy projects in the NE/Mid-Atlantic, it also covers the potential for both offshore wind projects and marine hydrokinetic (waves and tides) projects along entire U.S. coastline. Potential coastal zone impacts are also discussed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Type of Tidal Power Generator

The Deep Green, a new type of tidal power generator developed by Swedish startup Minesto, uses hydrodynamics to harness tidal currents, reportedly making the flow velocity increase 10 times.
Sweden- and UK-based Minesto’s innovation Deep Green “underwater kites” originates from the wind department at Saab Group (the aircraft and military Saab, not the automaker), who started development in 2003. The concept was more suited for water currents than winds, and since the concept was then beyond the Saab Group’s core business, Minesto was formed in 2007.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Marine Spatial Planning for Renewable Energy off the West Coast

On October 6 -7, 2009 Surfrider Foundation participated in a meeting on Marine Spatial Planning for Renewable Energy on the West Coast in Seattle, WA. The purpose of the meeting was to formally launch an eighteen month process to develop a 'Coastal Siting Report' for renewable ocean energy projects off the West Coast. The meeting was part of the West Coast Governors Agreement on Ocean Health, and was sponsored by the Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Marine Minerals Services (MMS). Invited participants discussed a range of topics including regulatory frameworks, baseline data needs, and decision-support tools. Over the coming months, the process will provide an opportunity to help ensure that renewable ocean energy development minimizes impacts to the nearshore enviroment and existing uses like recreation and fishing. For more information, please visit the website of the West Coast Governors Agreement or contact Pete Stauffer

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR

Ocean Sciences Meeting
February 22-26, 2010, Portland, Oregon

Renewable hydrokinetic energy development in coastal and estuarine environments

Session Description:
Many types of hydrokinetic renewable energy devices are under active development for marine and estuarine systems, typically designed to extract energy from waves, tides, currents, or thermal gradients. These novel technologies will require new emplacements and moorings in aquatic environments with attendant intrusions upon the environment, including acoustic signals, changes to mixing, and electromagnetic fields. Hydrokinetic energy sources are able to provide clean energy, but their effects on the physical and biological environment are not well understood. This session will examine the technologies under development and address the current state of our knowledge on how they will interact with estuarine and coastal, and offshore environments. Contributions are sought that deal with physical effects (current flow, energy reduction, mixing, sand transport) and biological effects (larval transport, entrainment, entanglement, behavior) on all trophic levels.

More info

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ocean Energy Conferences

UMass-Dartmouth's Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC) is hosting two important ocean energy conferences in September and October.

The first event, entitled 2nd Annual Ocean Energy for NE Conference will take place on Thursday September 17, 2009 in Hyannis, MA. The program is designed to bring together the policy, planning and public interest stakeholders to address issues about ocean energy prospects in NE waters. Speakers from the US Department of Energy, Minerals Management Service, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the MA Office of Coastal Zone Management, Conservation Law Foundation, Cape and Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative and many more will break up into facilitated panels to discuss how they view ocean energy development opportunities and concerns. The morning will be topped off with a delicious lunch and a wrap-up of next steps. Attendees from government, municipalities, the public at large, academia and industry are welcome to attend. A detailed agenda and registration information are available at

The second event, 1st Annual MREC Technical Conference is a conference dedicated to marine renewable energy technologies. It will take place on Thursday October 15, 2009 at the Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center (ATMC) in Fall River, Massachusetts. The purpose of this conference is to advance the science of ocean generation of electricity and to assist the industry in finding new technology for commercialization. The line up of technology based presentations will add to the technical literature available for ocean power generation. With sessions dedicated to ocean wave energy conversion devices, tidal in stream conversion devices and offshore wind generation systems and platform design the conference will provide a forum for researchers to present new technologies. There will also be a discussion of the methodology and results of site survey work. This work is crucial to pin pointing exact locations where there is a consistent power resource and for characterizing the seafloor for foundation and/or mooring installation. To submit an abstract and to register to attend please visit

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sonoma Coast Hydrokinetic Energy Project | Public Meetings

Sonoma Coast Hydrokinetic Energy Project

September 9 - Gualala Community Center
47950 Center St., Gualala

September 16 - Jenner Community Center
10398 Hwy 1, Jenner

Time: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) will hold public meetings to discuss the Sonoma Coast Hydrokinetic Energy Project (SCHEP) and to receive public input.

On July 7, 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved three Preliminary Permits that will allow SCWA to conduct feasibility studies for a hydrokinetic energy project at three locations off the Sonoma County Coast. At this meeting, SCWA will provide a formal presentation on preliminary project information, discuss timelines and receive public input.

Comments may be submitted thereafter to the Capital Projects Manager of Sonoma County Water Agency, PO Box 11628, Santa Rosa, CA 95406.
For more information about this meeting visit, or contact Brad Sherwood, Public Information Officer, at 707.547.1927 or or Amy Bolten, Public Information Officer, at 707-547-1981 or

More info from the Sonoma County Water Agency can be found here

Monday, August 24, 2009

FERC Signs Tidal Power Agreement With Maine

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said on August 19 it had signed an agreement with the State of Maine to coordinate on the development of projects that generate power from tides, marking the first such agreement on the technology for the U.S. East Coast.

Previously FERC signed agreements on tidal power with the states of Oregon and Washington.


Friday, August 7, 2009

MMS, FERC Issue Guidance on Wave, Tide, and Current Projects

On August 4, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jointly released their MMS/FERC Guidance on Regulation of Hydrokinetic Energy Projects on the OCS. The new guidance document explains general requirements, lease and license procedures, lease and license terms, financial assurance requirements, fee structures, and other pertinent information for the development of the OCS. Regarding hydrokinetic energy projects in the OCS, MMS has authority over site leases and FERC has authority over operating licenses.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Offshore Renewable Energy Regulatory Primer

The National Sea Grant Law Center has published Offshore Renewable Energy - Regulatory Primer (PDF, 590 KB), which presents basic regulatory information related to offshore wind, wave, tidal, and ocean thermal energy conversion projects. It also provides brief discussions on state authority, local concerns, and an emerging alternative management framework—marine spatial planning.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ocean Current Energy in Florida

Is the ocean Florida's untapped energy source?

The answer to easing the energy crunch in one of the nation's most populous states could lie underwater.

Imagine if your utility company could harness the ocean's current to power your house, cool your office, even charge your car. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University are in the early stages of turning that idea into reality in the powerful Gulf Stream off the state's eastern shore.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saving $1.2 Trillion through Energy Efficiency

Part of making a transition to alternative energy and getting off of carbon-emitting fossil fuels will be to become more efficient with our energy use.

A new report from the consulting firm McKinsey found that a upfront investment in energy efficiency through relatively simple efforts such as sealing leaky building ducts and replacing inefficient household appliances with new, energy-saving models could save up to $1.2 trillion dollars through 2020.

This investment in energy efficiency could cut the country’s projected energy use in 2020 by about 23 percent — a savings that would be “greater than the total of energy consumption of Canada,” said Ken Ostrowski, a senior partner in McKinsey’s Atlanta office, at a press event in Washington this morning.

Read more here...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wave Energy Report - Regulatory Framework

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) has released a new report that summarizes the regulatory framework for State and Federal permitting of wave energy projects click here. The report is an informational tool for stakeholders involved with the regulatory process. It identifies the most relevant state and regulatory requirements, explains the authorization process, and identifies the lead and participating agencies for each authorization. Also, on Sept 15-16, OWET is hosting the 2009 Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in Seaside, OR. For more info and to register click here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Planning for coastal wind farms in MA

Click here for a larger version of the map.

You can't be interested in coastal wind energy in the US without knowing about the long, drawn out controversy surrounding the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound off of Massachusetts.

To address issues surrounding competing uses and marine conservation, Massachusetts is leading the national in develop a plan to direct using of its coastal waters. The Massachusetts Ocean Plan is designed to balance commercial and recreational activities with conservation needs, including zones for the development of wind energy.

Read here to learn more about plan for wind energy in MA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

.: EfficienCity :.

Greenpeace UK has put together a nice website to help envision an climate-friendly city.

EfficienCity is a virtual city but all towns and cities in the UK could be enjoying the same lower greenhouse gas emissions, cheaper bills and better energy security.

Visit the EfficienCity and check out the "South Zone". It has cool animations/explanations of wind, wave and tidal power as well as information resources.

Salazar Announces 5 Exploratory Leases for Offshore Wind Energy Development off Coasts of NJ & DE

Contact: Frank Quimby (DOI), (202) 208-6416
Nicholas Pardi (MMS), (202) 208-7746

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Calling it a major step forward in President Obama's new energy frontier, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, joined by New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine, today issued five exploratory leases for renewable wind energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey and Delaware.

"We are entering a new day for energy production in the United States - a time of clean energy from renewable domestic sources on our Outer Continental Shelf," Secretary Salazar said. "Other nations have been using offshore wind energy for more than a decade. We made the development of offshore wind energy a top priority for Interior. The technology is proven, effective and available and can create new jobs for Americans while reducing our expensive and dangerous dependence on foreign oil."

"This is tremendous news for New Jersey and I thank Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration for issuing these leases which are so critical to getting the development of our offshore wind turbine projects underway," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "New Jersey's Outer Continental Shelf is a resource that holds a great promise for our energy independence and should be considered a haven for the clean, renewable and environmentally friendly energy that wind power provides. This is a major step for the State in meeting its goal of 1000 megawatts by 2013 and 3000 megawatts by 2020."

"The development of clean energy will be a major part of our economic recovery and will help lay the foundation for long-term economic security for our families, our state and our nation," said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). "We should be proud that New Jersey has led the way in the effort to harness the tremendous potential that offshore wind in the Atlantic has to generate clean electricity. This lease is a step toward lowering energy costs for families, creating innovative 21st Century industry jobs and reducing our reliance on dirty energy."

Secretary Salazar issued the exploratory leases, the first of their kind ever issued by the Federal Government, to Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy, LLC; Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey, LLC; Deepwater Wind, LLC; and Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC. The leases were developed under an Interim Policy and authorize data gathering activities, allowing for the construction of meteorological towers on the Outer Continental Shelf from six to 18 miles offshore to collect site-specific data on wind speed, intensity, and direction.

The leases exemplify the renewable energy initiatives Secretary Salazar has made a top priority and worked to accelerate. Under his efforts, the final regulatory framework for Outer Continental Shelf renewable energy development was completed in the first 100 days of President Obama's administration. The comprehensive framework, which regularizes the process and brings certainty to this nascent industry in terms of how applications for OCS wind, solar and hydrokinetic resources would be addressed, had been long delayed in the previous administration. Interior negotiated a breakthrough agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 9 that clarified the jurisdictional responsibilities for leasing and licensing renewable energy projects.

The President and the Secretary announced the final comprehensive framework on Earth Day, April 22, and it becomes effective on June 29. It provides the "rules of the road" for states and companies with renewable energy initiatives to pursue development of those projects on federal submerged lands as well as methods for sharing 27.5 percent of the revenues generated from these projects with adjacent coastal States. The Secretary then launched a series of 12 Minerals Management Service workshops nationwide to discuss and explain the new program for renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The data collected under these leases will be shared with Interior's Minerals Management Service and used to inform and support future commercial renewable energy projects, such as wind turbine farms, to help coastal States meet mandated renewable energy portfolio standards.

New Jersey is actively pursing the development of offshore wind energy through various state initiatives (e.g., grant solicitations, reimbursement programs, and renewable energy portfolio standards). In October 2008, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities established a meteorological tower reimbursement program, which provides $4 million per company to help expedite the development of offshore wind.

In Delaware, Delmarva Power signed a power purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind for up to 200MW in June 2008, and the pact was ratified by the state in July 2008. Delaware's average offshore winds have the potential to produce 5,286 MW*, which would power between 1.2 to 1.5 million average homes.

The following companies are receiving the exploratory leases for meteorological towers:

New Jersey
15 - 18 miles
Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy, LLC

New Jersey
6 - 9 miles
Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey, LLC

New Jersey
15 - 18 miles
Deepwater Wind, LLC

New Jersey
12 - 15 miles
Deepwater Wind, LLC

14 miles
Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC

For additional information on the limited leases and renewable energy, please visit:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oregon Well Situated For Ocean Energy

There are a series of coincidences that make Oregon well-suited to take advantage of ocean power.

Advantage one: Oregon has a coastline. But unlike the states along the eastern seaboard, the waves that reach our coast are large and regular -- because they have thousands of miles to grow. Prevailing weather means that waves develop from west to east.

Advantage two: the state sits around the 45th parallel, where waves are apparently bigger, according to Bob Paasch the direct of the newly formed Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

Advantage three: in order to bring electricity ashore, you need industrial scale substations close to the ocean. Oregon has dozens of those in the form of shuttered old logging mills.
Read More

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wave Energy Projects that interest the Surfrider Foundation

View Wave Energy Projects in a larger map

These are wave energy projects where the Surfrider Foundation is actively participating in project planning. This doesn't mean that we fully endorse the proposed project but we are following their progress and providing input.

Click on the symbol to see project name and FERC docket number. The FERC docket number can be used to find up to date information on the permit status for that project.

Click here to look up the docket number:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blue Energy: Plans to harness the ocean excite coastal power agencies

The boundary of Pacific County’s public utility district touches a source of clean and inexhaustible energy — the ocean. And PUD manager Doug Miller says he thinks it’s “highly likely” that someday the utility will plug into it.“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s right here in our backyard.”

Spurred by a nationwide push to develop green energy, entrepreneurs and public utilities are scouting Washington’s coastline from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the mouth of the Columbia River for places to generate electricity by channeling the sea through turbines.

Ocean energy advocates say the sea’s reliability and proximity to coastal population centers provide a big benefit for a country trying to wean itself from fossil fuels. The ocean energy industry, however, is in its infancy and faces technical and environmental problems.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Federal Cuts Proposed for Research & Development

Washington D.C. - The Obama administration has proposed a 25 percent cut in the research and development budget for wave and tidal power. At the same time the White House sought an 82 percent increase in solar power research funding, a 36 percent increase in wind power funding and a 14 percent increase in geothermal funding. But it looked to cut wave and tidal research funding from $40 million to $30 million.The decision to cut funding came only weeks after the Interior Department suggested that wave power could emerge as the leading offshore energy source in the Northwest and at a time when efforts to develop tidal power in Puget Sound are attracting national and international attention. By some estimates, wave and tidal power could eventually meet 10 percent of the nation's electricity demand, about the same as hydropower currently delivers. To read the full article in the Tacoma News Tribune, please click here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Senator Merkley holds Oregon Wave Energy Roundtable

Newport, OR – Wave energy can help lead Oregon and America into the clean energy economy however the trade offs and unknowns of the environmental impacts, regulation and technology take a careful approach of adaptive management and stakeholder dialogue.

That was one of the conclusions reached at a roundtable conversation organized by Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The discussion of how Oregon can help pioneer a clean energy economy was at the forefront of the roundatable discussion.
"Wave energy has serious potential to become a huge clean energy source for the Oregon coast and help boost the local economy," Merkley said. "But it has to be developed in partnership with local communities, and in a manner that is in harmony with the fishing industry, ocean users and coastal ecosystems."

Roundtable participants included:

Dr. George Boehlert, Professor of Marine Fisheries and Director of Hatfield Marine Science Center
Bob Eder, Vice-Chair of Newport’s Fishermen Involved in Natural Energy Committee (FINE) and fishing representative for Oregon Wave Energy Trust
Paul Klarin, Marine Affairs Coordinator, Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development
Dr. Robert Paasch of Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center
Dr. Merrick Haller of Oregon State University's Wave Energy Engineering
Robin Hartmann of Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition
Nik Furman of the Dungeness Crab Commission Pat Ashby of Tillamook People's Utility District
Ken Rhinefrank of Columbia Power Technologies
Len Bergstein of Ocean Power Technologies
Charlie Plybon Oregon Field Coordinator for Surfrider Foundation.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interest in Wave Energy Remains Strong in Northern California

Just this morning I posted a story questioning whether the rush towards wave energy was waning.

Then I read this article from the Santa Rosa-based paper The Press Democrat that describes a flurry of wave energy activity off of Northern California
PG&E, the county Water Agency and Green Wave Energy Solutions of Thousand Oaks are backing seven of the nine California wave power projects that have permits approved or pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Read the full article here.

Is the wave energy "gold rush" over?

As a result of numerous challenges ranging from the experimental nature of the technology, uncertainty about regulatory requirements and environmental consequences, and lack of available funding, wave energy developers have abandoned about 1/3 of the wave energy projects proposed along the West Coast.

Read more here.

Check out the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) series on energy called The Switch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PGE ends their Mendocino Project

As recently reported in the Mendo Coast Current, PG&E has decided to pull their Wave Connect project that was being planned for Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

According to Bill Toman, PG&E's Senior Program Manager for the Renewable Resource Department, the project was pulled because engineering studies of Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor determined that the port was insufficiently designed to operate the project from.

Toman said that the PG&E would be pulling their FERC permit in the next few weeks and issuing a formal statement on the project shortly.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Anaconda harnesses wave power

A new wave energy device known as "Anaconda" is the latest idea to harness the power of the seas.

Its inventors claim the key to its success lies in its simplicity: Anaconda is little more than a length of rubber tubing filled with water.

Waves in the water create bulges along the tubing that travel along its length gathering energy.

At the end of the tube, the surge of energy drives a turbine and generates electricity.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

San Francisco Wave Energy Permit Dismissed

Things in the wave energy world are changing quickly. It was just a few months ago (February 27, 2009) that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome announced they were submitting a preliminary permit for a wave energy project off the City of San Francisco.

A few weeks ago (April 9th) FERC & MMS announced a new agreement settling their jurisdictional dispute.

As a result the City's permit gets dismissed and now they'll have to seek a new one under the new system.

Thank you for your continued interest in San Francisco's efforts to betterunderstand the ocean power potential off our coast. FYI, FERC has dismissed the City & County of San Francisco's preliminary permit application to study a wave power project off the coast, on the grounds that the MOA between FERC and MMS prohibits FERC from issuing any permits for hydrokinetic projects in the Outer Continental Shelf.

The City remains committed to studying our ocean power potential, and is currently exploring our options.


Johanna Gregory Partin
Renewable Energy Program Manager
Department of the Environment
City and County of San Francisco
Phone: (415) 355-3715

Monday, March 30, 2009

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) & Marine Life?

One of the environmental concerns about developing alternative ocean energy is that the power has to be transmitting back to shore in a large undersea transmission cable - think of a giant extension cord going from the array of devices back to shore where it plugs into the grid. That transmission line will generate an electromagnetic field (EMF) that may affect marine life.

All electronically charged objects create electromagnetic field (EMF). There are some concerns that EMF might affect marine life who are very sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Sharks, rays and skates (elasmobranchs) are know to be particularly sensitive to EMF because they use it so sense prey. There is also some concern about how EMF might effect the navigational signals used by migrating species, such as turtles and marine mammals (seals, whales, etc).

MMS just announced that they will be funding a study to better understand the effects of electromagnetic fields from undersea transmission lines on marine wildlife. Press Release.

You can also read more about potential EMF impacts on wildlife in a draft memo regarding the infamous Cape Wind project.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FERC & MMS work it out

Interior Secretary Salazar (oversees MMS) and Acting Chairman of FERC Wellinghoff announced that the two agencies have confirmed their intent to work together to facilitate the permitting of renewable energy in offshore waters.

FERC will oversee wave and tidal projects

MMS will oversee wind and solar projects.

Read the statement here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Salazar Issues Order to Spur Renewable Energy Developmen

Citing the critical need to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, build a clean energy economy and create new jobs, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued a Secretarial Order making the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the Department.

“More so than ever, with job losses continuing to mount, we need to steer the country onto a new energy path,” Salazar said. “One that creates new jobs and puts America out front in new, growing industries, one that promotes investment and innovation here at home and one that makes wise use of our domestic resources.”


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Energy & the Ocean: Part 1

This year we are going to publish a series in Making Waves that explores using the ocean as a source of renewable and clean energy. This is Part 1 - an intro on the issues to be addressed. We welcome and encourage your comments!

Last summer, when gas prices neared $5 per gallon and “Drill, Baby Drill” became a campaign slogan, Americans were reawakened to our dangerous and dependent energy policies. Not since the 1970s had energy issues been so prominent in the public consciousness. Once again it became glaringly obvious that we are not only overly dependent on climate warming fossil fuels, but also that we get much of that petroleum from foreign countries – not all of whom are friendly.

A quick check of the facts in combination with the staggering drop in oil prices last fall, demonstrated the futility of offshore drilling as a means of solving our energy crisis. Offshore drilling would only account for 3% of the world’s oil supply.

This summer’s gas price bubble reminded us that now is the time to invest in alternative energy sources that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases while providing domestic sources of energy, spurring innovation and creating jobs.

As Surfrider Foundation’s policy on climate change acknowledges, increased warming of the Earth’s atmosphere will be felt severely at our coasts. Impacts range from increased coastal erosion and flooding, increased severity of storms, loss of wetlands, acidification of the oceans and threats to coral reefs. The key element to turning around global climate change is to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels for energy.

When looking into our energy sources, it is important to understand that we have two primary energy uses that come from different sources. One major energy use is transportation (cars, shipping, trains, airplanes, etc.). Transportation is powered almost exclusively on petroleum. The other major energy use is electricity to power our houses, office buildings, etc. Electricity has traditionally derived from a mix of sources including coal, hydroelectric, nuclear and natural gas.

The move to electric powered transportation will alter this balance and increase our electricity needs while decreasing our petroleum needs (unless we start using more petroleum to generate electricity).

There are a number of new alternative energy sources that are being developed that are designed to tap into natural energy along the coasts and in the oceans to create electricity. These include wind, tidal, wave and current energy. All of these sources hold the promise of creating domestically available renewable and clean energy that could also support economic development along the coasts. However, there are many questions and concerns about ocean energy, including potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, coastal processes, public safety, aesthetics, and fishing access.

The conflict between supporting clean, renewable energy sources and working to protect the coast from potential impacts presents us with a challenge. It would be easy to succumb to a “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) mentality and just say no to these projects. But by saying no to these projects we are inherently saying yes to some other source of energy that may have negative global ramifications (e.g. coal). The question remains, how can we support clean energy sources along the coasts while minimizing their impacts to our oceans, waves and beaches.

We believe the answer is to constructively participate in project planning and to promote a set of “best practices” to ensure that these impacts are minimized to the fullest extent possible

In this series, we will explore efforts to open new areas to offshore drilling and innovative technologies such as wave energy, wind power, tidal and current energy. We will describe how they work, what the state of the technology is, and how they may impact the coast.

We hope you will join in this conversation. Comment below.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Humboldt Chapter Wave Energy Forum

On Feb 21, Surfrider's Humboldt Chapter hosted an informational public forum on wave energy development in response to community interest and concern over PG&E's proposed WaveConnect projects off northern California. Presenters included PG&E Representative Ian Caliendo, FERC's Jim Hastreiter, HT Harvey Ecologist Peter Nelson and Surfrider Foundation's Pete Stauffer. Humboldt State University Professor of Economics Steve Hackett joined the panel for a question-and-answer session following the presentations. Over 70 members of the community including elected officials, environmental professionals, surfers, and fishermen attended, as well as members of the Mendocino Chapter who trekked up in support. During the panel, Caliendo (PG&E) noted California's mandate that 20 percent of the state's energy come from renewable energy sources by 2010, and provided an overview of PG&E's pilot Wave Connect proposal which would be sited north or south of the Humboldt Bay harbor entrance (photo). Hastreiter (FERC) expressed confidence in FERC's role as lead agency, and reiterated that the preliminary permit granted to PG&E only allows the company to reserve the area and creates a timeline during which studies much be completed. Stakeholders will have many chances for input, he assured the audience. Nelson (HT Harvey) described potential ecological effects of development, and illustrated the importance of scale. Stauffer (Surfrider) provided an overview of Surfrider's Policy Statement on Alternative Ocean Energy, and acknowledged both potential benefits, as well as the need to proceed incrementally and cautiously. Since this was the newly reconstituted chapter's first forum, members were quite pleased with the event's success. A video of the forum is expected to be available soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finavera Renewables surrenders ocean energy FERC permits in support of corporate focus on wind energy projects

Vancouver, Canada, February 6th, 2009 – Finavera Renewables Inc. (‘Finavera Renewables’ or the ‘Company’) (TSX-V: FVR) announces it has filed applications to surrender its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) license for the Makah Bay Wave Energy Pilot Project in Washington and the Humboldt County Preliminary Permit for a proposed wave energy project in California. The decision allows the Company to focus its resources on enhancing its near-term wind project portfolio and provide shareholders with a clearer path to revenue in this challenging economic environment. The Company retains all Intellectual Property associated with the AquaBuOY technology and is actively seeking financial and technical partners for the future development of the technology.

The immediate primary focus remains the continued development of the Company’s wind projects in BC and Ireland through partnerships and/or joint venture arrangements. In the medium term, the Company plans to execute on its project finance agreements and bring the wind energy assets to commercial operation. In the longer term, the Company will continue to assemble a diversified mix of revenue producing, renewable energy assets.

Jason Bak, CEO

For more information:

Finavera Renewables
Myke Clark
SVP Business Development
Finavera Renewables

Friday, January 30, 2009

Proposed Coos Bay Wave Energy Project

Agency comments ask for cutbacks in wave energy plan
By Susan Chambers, Staff Writer, The World Newspaper. Monday, January 26, 2009

Ocean Power Technologies is feeling pressure as local groups, the state and even the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urge the company to shrink its 200-buoy Coos Bay plan.

Oregon Wave Energy Partners I, as Ocean Power Technologies, filed its notice of intent and preliminary application document with FERC in March 2008 for the 200-buoy array off the North Spit.

The Southern Oregon Ocean Resource Coalition, Oregon International Port of Coos Bay, Surfrider Foundation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife filed comments suggesting OPT slow down. Instead of going for a full build-out, phase it in after more studies are done, they said.

The 200-buoy plan also runs counter to FERC’s own advice.

To read the entire article, click here

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Panels on Wave Energy

Surfrider Foundation is participating in several panels on Alternative Ocean Energy in the coming months. These public discussions provide a great forum for dialgoue on how this new technology can move forward in a way that minimizes effects to the nearshore environment, ocean recreation, public safety, fishing and other current uses, and aesthetics
Jan 31: NW Water Law Symposium, Portland, OR
Feb 21: Wave Energy Forum sponsored by Humboldt Chapter of Surfrider
Feb 26/29: Public Interest Environmental Law Eugene, OR
April 23/24: Greening the Grid, Portland, OR

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blue Energy

California Coast & Ocean (Vol. 24, No. 3 2008) recently published a great overview article on wave energy that provides an update on the recent history of wave energy applications in Oregon and California and highlights both the potential for a renewable energy source but also the challenges associated with a blurry regulatory process, technological challenges and possible recreational and environmental impacts.

Read the article here

Friday, January 9, 2009

Grays Harbor Ocean Energy seeks permits seven locations on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts

Company seeks to study ocean waves' potential to produce electricity – By Scott Hadly (Scripps Howard News Service) – (January 6, 2009)

A Washington state company has asked federal regulators for a permit to study the potential of producing electricity from ocean waves off the California, Hawaii and Atlantic coasts.

Grays Harbor Ocean Energy applied for the permit in October from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a first step in what would be a multiyear process.

The company asked for permits in seven locations on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, he said. Those sites include areas off San Francisco and Ventura County in California, as well as sites off Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

According to company officials, if all seven sites are developed, they could produce up to 7,700 megawatts of power, enough for 2 million homes.

Read more