March 16 2012
On March 9th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency responsible for licensing wave energy projects, terminated the permit process for the San Onofre Wave Energy Farm, due to the applicant’s inability to prepare the required baseline information that would be needed for a license application. This process termination halts the project indefinitely.
During this process, the Surfrider Foundation filed a Motion to Intervene, making the organization a formal stakeholder. Surfrider Foundation also contributed information regarding the environmental and recreational issues that needed to be assessed before the project could proceed.
“We support FERC’s decision to terminate the permit process because this project failed to meet the most basic requirements to prepare baseline information to assess risks and impacts to the coastal environment,” says Dr. Chad Nelsen, Surfrider Foundation’s Environmental Director. “The Surfrider Foundation approaches all renewable energy projects with an open mind because we feel that they have the potential to provide a sustainable source of clean energy. However, we also want to make sure that all projects are conducted in a way that takes any and all potential impacts to the coastal environment or recreation into account.”
Since 2006, the Surfrider Foundation has been a stakeholder in various offshore projects, and recognizes that technologies utilizing ocean waves, tides, currents and wind offer important benefits as renewable sources of energy that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For example, the Surfrider Foundation formally supported a wave energy project being developed off of Reedsport, Oregon.
The Foundation also recognizes that there are still many questions and concerns about ocean energy, including potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, coastal processes, public safety aesthetics, and fishing access.