About the Central Coast WaveConnect™ Project

As part of the WaveConnect™ program, PG&E is pursuing an ocean wave energy project to be located off the coast of California’s Santa Barbara County.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit for the Central Coast WaveConnect Project on May 14, 2010. Below is the preliminary permit.

CCWC Preliminary Permit (PDF, 207 KB)

See the Central Coast WaveConnect webpage for additional information about the Central Coast WaveConnect project, including materials presented at the February 3-4, 2010, public meetings.

PG&E applied for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit on December 11, 2009, to study the feasibility of a wave energy project located within state waters near Point Arguello. The preliminary permit, issued on May 14, 2010, gives PG&E up to three years to study the offshore environment to determine whether the location is appropriate for a wave energy facility.

PG&E has an agreement with Vandenberg Air Force Base to explore the feasibility of developing renewable energy for the area and is proposing to connect the wave energy project to the electric grid using existing facilities located at the base. This working partnership will help reduce potential impacts to nearby areas by eliminating the need for onshore infrastructure development on Santa Barbara County land and beaches.

Wave energy projects have been successfully developed and demonstrated around the world, including several in the U.S. The Central Coast WaveConnect™ will be PG&E’s second proposed wave energy facility in California. (See information on our Humboldt WaveConnect Pilot Project.)

Proposed Preliminary Study Site

PG&E has applied to FERC for permission to conduct baseline environmental studies within an area approximately 16 miles long and up to three nautical miles wide off the coast of Santa Barbara County. A FERC preliminary permit allows studies leading to a license and does not authorize construction or disturbance of any land or property, or exclude other uses. If the studies indicate that it will be feasible to construct a project in this location, PG&E will subsequently apply for a license from the FERC to construct the wave energy facility.

The proposed study area was selected because:

  • It has a high quality wave energy resource.
  • It avoids known sensitive areas such as marine protected areas and the Gaviota Coast.
  • It is convenient to the existing transmission infrastructure on Vandenberg Air Force Base.

We will seek the help of local stakeholders and regulatory agencies to determine which areas within the preliminary permit boundary are most appropriate and feasible for a wave energy facility. The final project site would be smaller than the proposed preliminary study site shown on the map below.

FERC Documents

Use the first link below to find all the documents filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding this project. Use the second link to sign up with FERC to receive email notification of all new documents pertaining to this project.

Environmental Review Process

The Central Coast WaveConnect™ will be a multiyear process involving many partners and benchmarks. Learn more about the licensing and permitting agencies involved in this project:

Public Involvement

We are committed to working closely with a broad range of stakeholders in the project area to ensure that interests and perspectives are heard and addressed to the extent possible. We will be conducting a public workshop in early 2010 to provide information to interested community members about the FERC preliminary permit application and site selection. As the effort proceeds over the next three years, we will be actively working with a collaborative group of interested stakeholders and conducting periodic public meetings.

Check back on this site for more information about upcoming public involvement opportunities.

Central Coast WaveConnect Public Kickoff Meetings