Hydrokinetic Energy Project

Sonoma County hydrokinetic energy
Sonoma County hydrokinetic energy project locations

The Sonoma Coast Hydrokinetic Energy Project (SCHEP) explores the feasibility of an offshore wave energy conversion facility off the Sonoma County Coast. The process began in November 2007, when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors directed SCWA to research the potential use of hydrokinetics as a renewable energy source.

On July 7, 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Agency’s three applications for Preliminary Permits at Del Mar Landing, Fort Ross (North), and Fort Ross (South). Within each project location, the Agency is restricting its investigation to coastal waters within a .5 to 3 mile zone off the shoreline. The Del Mar Landing location is a 17.87 square mile site that is close to the Mendocino County border and adjacent to The Sea Ranch community. The Fort Ross (North) and Fort Ross (South) locations are adjacent to each other and are located between the Salt Point State Park and the town of Jenner. Fort Ross (North) is a 13.6 square mile site and Fort Ross (South) is a 19.11 square mile site.

During the preliminary permit process, the Agency will perform environmental, engineering, and economic assessments to identify possible facility locations and viable hydrokinetic technologies. The Agency is also conducting outreach meetings along the Sonoma County Coast every 6 months to provide the public current project information and to receive public input. To help guide the Agency during this process, the Agency established an advisory committee of state and local agencies, scientific researchers, and stakeholders to provide expert input in the areas of oceanography, ecology, economics, technology, and policy.

The Agency is continually seeking sources of funding for SCHEP’s feasibility studies. In February 2010, the Agency submitted four grant proposals to the Department of the Interior/Mineral Management Services. For these grants, the Agency partnered with UC Davis Bodega Bay Marin Lab, UC Santa Barbara, Sonoma State University, USGS, National Renewable Energy Lab, Farallon Institute, and the County of Sonoma’s GIS Department and Regional Parks Department. If awarded these grants, feasibility studies are anticipated to begin in early Fall 2010.

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