AquaEnergy Group, Ltd. (AquaEnergy) proposes to develop and operate the Makah Bay Offshore Wave Energy Pilot Project (Makah Bay Project). The project will be located in the Pacific Ocean in Makah Bay, Clallam County, near the city of Neah Bay, Washington. The land portion part of the project is the property of the Makah Indian Nation. Part or all of the aquatic portion of the project is within Washington State waters, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS), and the Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. The Makah Bay Project, which is supported by a consortium of public and private agencies, the Makah Indian Nation, and a major university, does not occupy any federally-owned land, though the OCNMS is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
AquaEnergy is following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) alternative licensing procedures and is filing this preliminary draft environmental assessment (PDEA) with a final application for an original license. This is the first wave energy or tidal project in the nation required to undergo the FERC licensing process.
This PDEA analyzes the effects of development and operation of the project. In addition to the Proposed Action, we consider alternatives, including a no-action alternative. Based on our analysis, we recommend licensing the Makah Bay Offshore Wave Energy Pilot Project as proposed by AquaEnergy. We conclude that issuing an original license for the project, with the environmental measures that we propose, would not be a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was signed into law on August 8, 2005, promotes the development of cleaner and productive use of domestic energy sources as well as the diversification in energy supplies through greater use of alternative and renewable fuels. Given the national energy demands, supply limitations, and energy development goals, we recommend that development of new ocean technologies by AquaEnergy be encouraged and promoted to increase domestic energy production, especially from clean renewable sources.