California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is seeking a federal licence for an experimental wave power project off the coast of northern California about three nautical miles off the coast near the town of Eureka. California State has set itself the target of getting 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The project will cost $50m, mostly to build the infrastructure for power transmission, monitoring and other equipment.

The project is nominally sized at 5 MW and will enable PG&E to test a number of wave power technologies. More than a dozen wave power companies have to date contacted PG&E to express interest in joining the project.

“There is a large potential for renewable energy off the coast of California. It could be a huge benefit to our customers,” said Jana Morris, a PG&E spokeswoman.

PG&E expects to receive a licence from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by June 2011, according to the Reuters news agency.