Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finavera and PG&E denied wave permit

PG&E had worked out a deal with Finavera Renewables for a wave project off Humboldt County in a PPA that would have paid an astonishing 23 cents per kWh. But the California Public Utilities Commission rejected it:

The commission determined that the project isn't viable, that Finavera's bid doesn't compare to others in PG&E's renewable energy portfolio and that the contract price for the power isn't reasonable.
Putting a brave face on it, PG&E says it is still committed to wave energy and will go forward with other projects: "We believe the rejection of this contract won't hinder further wave development." UPDATE: Finavera's trying to be brave too.

The lack of viability was based in part on the fact that Finavera's wave devices are “precommercial” and that an earlier buoy sunk off of Reedsport, Oregon. Approving the proposed project right now “is not the best way to move this wave technology towards commercialization.”

Reality check for state regulators. If this is a good reason to turn down such a project, how will any project get permits? Shouldn't regulators be encouraging development rather than insisting that all technology be somehow perfected before being placed in the water? Athena may have sprung fully armed from the head of Zeus, but technology isn't birthed fully ready for commercial battle. How do they expect that technology will become ready without getting wet?
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