FERC seeks input on 2,000-MW California wave energy project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 8 went out for comment on an Oct. 1 application from JD Products LLC for a successive preliminary permit on a 2,000-MW wave energy project to be located in the Pacific Ocean off the San Onofre nuclear plant.

The company under this renewed permit wants to keep studying the feasibility of the proposed San Onofre Electricity Farm Project. The project would utilize up to 1,314 generation units, with an estimated installed capacity of 2,000 MW, with a projected average annual generation of about 17,519 megawatthours.

The requested project boundary comprises of approximately six square nautical miles of coastal waters and lands located along the coast of San Diego County, Calif., near the towns of San Onofre and San Clemente, and include portions of the San Onofre California State Park and the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. 

The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term.

FERC in October 2010 granted the initial preliminary permit for this project. The company said this hydrokinetic wave energy project would use the transmission line for the San Onofre nuclear plant, which Southern California Edison now plans to permanently shut due to mechanical problems and entrenched environmental opposition to the plant’s restart.

The Oct. 1 application for a permit extension said the project would have three phases: a subscale prototype; a 155-MW second phase with 100 hydrokinetic generating units called a BDEG (Bi-Direction Electricity Generator) to operate for a couple of years to attract investor interest; and a 2,000-MW third phase with 1,291 of those units.

The company said the transmission line for the San Onofre nuclear plant has about 2,000 MW of capacity, enough to handle the power from its hydrokinetic project.

The applicant contact is: Chong Hun Kim, JD Products LLC, 16807 Woodridge Circle, Fountain Valley, Calif. 92708; (714) 964-5419.

The deadline for comments on the application is 60 days from Nov. 8.

Similar project also proposed off of Morro Bay in California

Notably, another developer, Archon Energy 1 Inc., applied Nov. 5 at FERC for a preliminary permit for the Morro Bay Wave Park, an offshore project that would help replace the to-be-retired, gas-fired Morro Bay power plant on the nearby shore.

This project would be located in the Pacific Ocean near San Luis Obispo County, Calif., west of the town of Morro Bay. The proposed site is in the open ocean about 10 miles from shore in water depths that range from 300 to 700 feet or more at the outer continental shelf.

The final power cable route will be determined based on site-specific information after further study. The transmission cable could possibly come to shore via an underground pipe to the Morro Bay, Cayucos or Baywood substation interconnection points, the company noted. Other potential interconnection sites will also be investigated.

The Morro Bay Wave Park, with a capacity of up to 500 MW, would utilize the kinetic energy of the ocean swells and convert it into electricity. The project is envisioned to utilize the power transmission corridor left behind after the future decommissioning of the 1,002-MW Morro Bay plant, the company said.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.