USAF C-17 Makes First Transcontinental Flight on 50-50 Synfuel Blend
House Sends Energy Bill to President Bush; New Renewable Fuel Standard

PG&E and Finavera Renewables Enter Into US’ First Commercial Wave Energy Power Purchase Agreement

Operating principle of the Finavera AquaBuOY. Click to enlarge.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has entered into a long-term, two megawatt (MW) commercial wave energy power purchasing agreement (PPA) with Finavera Renewables Inc., the developer of the AquaBuOY wave energy converter. (Earlier post.) This marks the first commercial wave energy power purchasing agreement in the US.

Finavera Renewables has initiated development plans for the two megawatt wave energy project to be constructed approximately 2.5 miles off the coast of Humboldt County, California for electricity delivery to PG&E's customers throughout its northern and central California service territory.

The power purchase agreement calls for 3,854 MWh of clean, renewable electricity to be delivered annually to PG&E over the term of the contract. The project is expected to offset greenhouse gas emissions by displacing an estimated 245 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

During the next two to three years of the permitting process, the overall project design and detailed specifications will be submitted to and evaluated by local, state, and federal regulators and community stakeholders including fishermen, recreational boaters and environmental groups to understand the siting, safety and environmental impacts of the wave energy plant. The licensing process will include all required environmental studies such as impacts on local fish habitat, marine mammal migration routes, and commercial and recreational fishing zones.

The Finavera AquaBuOY is a floating buoy structure that converts the kinetic energy of the vertical motion of oncoming waves into electricity. The AquaBuOY is categorized as a point absorber—having a small dimension in relation to the longer wave length in which it is operating. It utilizes a cylindrical buoy as the displacer and the reactor is a large water mass enclosed by a long vertical tube underneath the buoy.

Energy transfer takes place by converting the vertical component of wave kinetic energy into pressurized seawater by means of two-stroke hose pumps. The pressurized seawater is directed into an energy conversion system consisting of a turbine driving an electrical generator. The power is transmitted to shore by means of a secure, undersea transmission line.

Clusters of these modular devices will be moored several kilometers offshore where the wave resource is the greatest. The wave power projects are scalable from hundreds of kilowatts to hundreds of megawatts, according to Finavera.

In addition to PG&E’s agreement with Finavera Renewables, PG&E independently filed permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in February 2007 to develop generation projects that could convert the abundant wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties into electricity.

Named “WaveConnect,” these projects are currently undergoing initial resource, environmental, and ocean use assessments. If developed, the WaveConnect projects would use wave energy conversion (WEC) devices to transform the energy of ocean waves into clean, renewable electricity. PG&E submitted the first application in North America for a project that will allow multiple WEC device manufacturers to demonstrate their devices on a common site, which could help accelerate the development of wave energy technology. (Earlier post.)




Hurry it up already!


Unfortunately for PG&E customers Humboldt County is the furthest coastal county from any CA population center...,_California


Unfortunately for PG&E customers Humboldt County is the furthest coastal county from any CA population center...


I suppose that power could go to metropolises like Eureka and Gold Beach, Oregon. This seems more like a proof-of-concept pilot product to me. What bothers me is that the permitting process takes 2-3 years.

chris apicella

the 2-3 years is so environmentalists in California to find some obscure reason (like it negatively affects some obscure microscopic marine life)to oppose the projects.



...the 2-3 years it takes for environmentalists and others in California not to find some obscure reason is the reason why California was the first to have catalytic converters and the most stringent air quality standards in the world...and for some obscure reason was not you who did it...

Kit P

AquaBuOY 2.0 MIA. Somewhere on the ocean floor off the coast near Newport, Oregon.

Stan Peterson

This is an intersting experiement but like so many "renewable" energy sources; after 30 years of Amory Lovins instigated research, it is expensive and doesn't scale to produce much power.

This project in 5 years will generate all of 0.0000001% (1 millionth) of the energy we now consume.

Hardly a great contribution to our energy needs.

Kit P

Well Stan, there is nothing wrong with small if it is not stupid. PG&E has nothing to loose with a PPE for something that does not work.


New oscillating dynamo -qestbook

The comments to this entry are closed.