A Seattle company, Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, is seeking permits to harness energy from waves off the coastline of six states – California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – each covering about 100 square miles. Taken collectively, Grays Harbor said the $28 billion project would be America’s biggest renewable energy project.
The company has already been granted a preliminary permit for a six-megawatt wave power demonstration project off the Washington coast, near the towns of Westport and Ocean Shores.
Grays Harbor is proposing to use the oscillating water column technology pioneered by Oceanlinx at Port Kembla in Australia.
Although the current applications only relate to wave power, the ultimate plan is for "hybrid" power generation, incorporating wave, wind and gas turbines. Grays Harbor President, Burton Hammer, says that "Because we are using a hybrid of technologies, which now include offshore gas turbines integrated into the wind/wave farms, we can maintain nearly constant rated power output and thus the cash flow is vastly superior to ‘normal’ wind farms.”
The firm expects to pay for the project largely with private investment but is also seeking federal help. “We are raising funds from private investors now. We intend to raise $5.4M in early 2009 for high-level feasibility studies of the proposed sites and for local stakeholder consultations. We expect to raise about $40M in 2010 to fund ocean surveys of the sites using high-resolution sidescan sonar. Full funding of the projects will come from private investors and from 80% debt financing." according to Burton Hammer.