Irish renewable energy company Finavera Renewables has moved one step further to developing the US' first commercial wave energy plant with the completion of the Makah Bay environmental assessment (EA) process.
The Makah Bay offshore wave energy pilot project is being developed through Finavera Renewables’ wave energy division and wholly owned subsidiary AquaEnergy Group, and marks a significant milestone for wave energy development in the US.
The Makah Bay project will consist of the patented ‘AquaBuOY’ technology, which are modular devices with a nameplate power rating of 250kW, grouped together nearly 5km offshore in water depths of 45-76m. The project is expected to deliver 1500MWh annually.
A consortium formed for the project includes the Makah Indian Nation, Clallam County Public Utility District (PUD), Washington State University, Bonneville Power Administration through the Northwest Energy Innovation Center, Clallam County Economic Development Council, and AquaEnergy.
Alla Weinstein, CEO of AquaEnergy and the first President of the European Ocean Energy Association, said: ‘The successful installation of the proposed offshore energy power plant will herald the beginning of a new renewable energy industry sector, bringing ocean energy one step closer towards generation of clean, competitively priced electricity to commercial and residential consumers in Washington State and other coastal US States.’
‘The renewable power produced by the project will contribute to the generation mix in the region,’ added Fred Mitchell, Telecommunications and Power Resources Manager, Clallam County PUD. ‘This energy source also aligns with Clallam County PUD’s objective to provide clean energy to customers.’
The environmental assessment, prepared by Devine Tarbell & Associates, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) qualified assessor, concluded that ‘the Makah Bay project represents the first of its kind pilot wave energy project in the nation to involve the FERC licensing process. The assessment resulted in Findings of No Significant Environmental Effects from the proposed pilot project’.
Completion of the PDEA was made possible with the financial support from Snohomish PUD, and Puget Sound Energy along with the support from Evans-Hamilton and Fugro Pelagos.
AquaEnergy is following FERC’s Alternative Licensing Process for the project and is filing this Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment (PDEA) with an application for an original FERC license.