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Small but Significant Step for Wave Energy

Cathy Duchamp
12/21/2007

Utilities are one step closer to getting watts from waves. Federal regulators today [Thursday] issued the nation's first permit to build an experimental wave energy plant. It's planned for the northwest tip of Washington State. Correspondent Cathy Duchamp has more.

THE PLANT WILL BE MODEST: FOUR WAVE ENERGY BUOYS THAT WILL GENERATE ENOUGH ELECTRICITY TO POWER BETWEEN 400 AND 700 HOMES. BUT IT'S SIGNIFICANT, SAYS OCEAN ENERGY CONSULTANT ROGER BEDARD:

BEDARD: "I guess the same thing Neal Armstrong said when he stepped on the moon: "One small step for man, one major leap for mankind."

BEDARD WORKS FOR THE ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE IN PALO ALTO CALIFORNIA. HE SAYS THE WAVE ENERGY MARKET IS WHERE WIND POWER WAS ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO. BUT WAVE ENERGY WILL EXPAND MUCH FASTER THAN WIND DID, ACCORDING TO MYKE CLARK. HE'S THE SPOKESPERSON FOR FINAVERA RENEWABLES, THE CANADIAN COMPANY THAT WILL BUILD THE PLANT AT NEAH BAY WASHINGTON:

CLARK: "There are renewable energy portfolio standards that require utilities to go out and find renewable energy and there are only so many forms of renewable energy so utilities and government see wave energy as a significant potential contributor to that overall energy mix."

BUT COULD THERE BE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? FINAVERA MUST MONITOR THE EFFECTS OF ITS PLANT ON MIGRATORY WHALES AND SEA LIONS AS PART OF ITS FEDERAL PERMIT. I'M CATHY DUCHAMP REPORTING.

℗ Copyright 2007, KUOW News

09.22.18

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