The purposes of the proposed PacWave South Project include: (1) to test the operation of grid-connected wave energy conversion (WEC) devices; (2) to refine the deployment, recovery, operations, and maintenance procedures for WEC devices; (3) to collect interconnection and grid synchronization data; (4) to gather information about environmental, economic, and socioeconomic effects; and (5) to provide a source of hydroelectric power. Therefore, under the provisions of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Commission must decide whether to issue an original license to OSU for the PacWave South Project and what conditions should be placed on any license issued. In deciding whether to issue a license for a hydroelectric project, the Commission must determine that the project would be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway. In addition to the power and developmental purposes for which licenses are issued (such as flood control, irrigation, and water supply), the Commission must give equal consideration to the purposes of: (1) energy conservation; (2) the protection of, mitigation of damage to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources; (3) the protection of recreational opportunities; and (4) the preservation of other aspects of environmental quality.
The Commission issuing a license, BOEM issuing a research lease, and DOE providing funding for the PacWave South Project would allow OSU to test WECs and generate electricity at the project for the term of the license, making electric power from a renewable resource available to Central Lincoln People’s Utility District (CLPUD). OSU’s proposed monitoring plans would also provide important information on any unanticipated environmental effects of such wave energy developments, which could assist with the evaluation of similar projects.
This EA has been prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to assess the effects associated with construction and operation of the proposed project and alternatives to the proposed project. In this EA, staff evaluates the effects of OSU’s proposed action and recommends conditions for any license issued. In addition to OSU’s proposed action, the EA considers: (1) OSU’s proposal with additional Commission staff-recommended measures (staff alternative); and (2) a noaction alternative.