NewEnergyNews: WAVE + WIND = $28 BIL & 7,700 MW, THE BIGGEST NEW ENERGY EVER

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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  • FRIDAY WORLD, May 27:
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    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    WAVE + WIND = $28 BIL & 7,700 MW, THE BIGGEST NEW ENERGY EVER

    It appears Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company is a company worth watching. Since being formed in 2007, it has demonstrated 3 impressive traits.

    First, it had the courage and integrity to report the truth about the tidal energy it was assigned to evaluate, concluding and reporting that developing
    tidal power in the Tacoma Narrows was not economically feasible.

    Second, the company has shown smart ambition by taking on the synergistic but technically challenging development of offshore wind and wave energies in combination.

    Third, it has wisely set aside its technical ambitions in wind-wave synergy to first focus on a single technology. By filing for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permits to develop wave energy at 7 sites off 6 states, the company demonstrated plenty of ambition but at the same time an understanding that getting just the wave energy proposals through the permitting and installation processes will be a daunting enough challenge.

    The Grays Harbor website continues to describe the projects as wave/wind undertakings, demonstrating the company has not lost any of the fuel that fires its ambitions. It will need all the ambition it can generate to do what it wants to do in this credit-crunched economy. For the 7,700-megawatt potential it will ultimately represent, the 7-site project will have a price tag of $28 billion. What’s more, the payback may not come until the wind power is added, some unforeseeable time down the line.


    An oscillating water column wave energy device like those Grays Habor proposes to deploy. (click to enlarge)

    Firm: Turn motion of ocean into energy
    Andrew Miga, December 5, 2008 (AP)

    WHO
    Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company (Burton Hammer, President); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (Celeste Miller, spokeswoman)

    WHAT
    Grays Harbor asked FERC for permits to build wave energy generators off the coastline of 6 states at an estimated cost of $28 billion.

    Schematic of the oscillating water column wave energy device. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - The company was established in 2007. It was granted a FERC permit earlier this year to build its combination wind energy-wave energy technology in Grays Harbor.
    - The FERC approval process is expected to be lengthy, beginning with the 60-day public comment period that began November 28.
    - Feasibility studies: 2009
    - Demonstrations: 2010
    - Pilot projects: 2012
    - Expansion: 2014 to 2017.

    WHERE
    - The company wants to build wave energy generators at 7 sites in federal waters off California (among offshore oil platforms west of Ventura and 20-25 miles west of San Francisco), Hawaii (15 to 25 miles off Honolulu), Massachusetts (12 to 17 miles southeast of Nantucket Island), New Jersey (10 miles east of Atlantic City), New York (12 to 25 miles east of Jones Island) and Rhode Island (south of Block Island).
    - Grays Harbor is off the Washington state coast.
    - The company is based Seattle, Washington.

    WHY
    - The $28 billion price and the 7700-megawatt total potential capacity make the project the biggest U.S. New Energy undertaking.
    - Financing is expected to be largely private but will include some federal funds.
    - Each site for which the company is seeking a permit is approximately 100 square miles and has a 1000-megawatt potential capacity.
    - The company uses an oscillating water column technology
    - While several of the site locations are places where enthusiasm for offshore development runs high, the Massachusetts site could generate opposition if the response to the much-maligned Cape Wind project is indicative.

    Grays Harbor is looking at a variety of deepwater offshore wind technologies. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Burton Hamner, President, Grays Harbor: "[The plan will] help federal agencies develop effective agreements regarding management of ocean renewable energy projects."

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