Humboldt Chapter Wave Energy Forum
On Feb 21, Surfrider's Humboldt Chapter hosted an informational public forum on wave energy development in response to community interest and concern over PG&E's proposed WaveConnect projects off northern California. Presenters included PG&E Representative Ian Caliendo, FERC's Jim Hastreiter, HT Harvey Ecologist Peter Nelson and Surfrider Foundation's Pete Stauffer. Humboldt State University Professor of Economics Steve Hackett joined the panel for a question-and-answer session following the presentations. Over 70 members of the community including elected officials, environmental professionals, surfers, and fishermen attended, as well as members of the Mendocino Chapter who trekked up in support. During the panel, Caliendo (PG&E) noted California's mandate that 20 percent of the state's energy come from renewable energy sources by 2010, and provided an overview of PG&E's pilot Wave Connect proposal which would be sited north or south of the Humboldt Bay harbor entrance (photo). Hastreiter (FERC) expressed confidence in FERC's role as lead agency, and reiterated that the preliminary permit granted to PG&E only allows the company to reserve the area and creates a timeline during which studies much be completed. Stakeholders will have many chances for input, he assured the audience. Nelson (HT Harvey) described potential ecological effects of development, and illustrated the importance of scale. Stauffer (Surfrider) provided an overview of Surfrider's Policy Statement on Alternative Ocean Energy, and acknowledged both potential benefits, as well as the need to proceed incrementally and cautiously. Since this was the newly reconstituted chapter's first forum, members were quite pleased with the event's success. A video of the forum is expected to be available soon.