Feds: No wave-catching for Calif. energy company

FERC’s decision brings an indefinite halt to a plan that had already brought stiff opposition from surfers, fishermen and environmental groups.

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. _ A plan to harness wave power alongside the nuclear power produced at San Onofre State Beach is all but dead in the water.

Federal regulators have pulled the plug on the licensing process for the operation proposed in 2010 by JD Products, an energy company based in Fountain Valley, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday (http://lat.ms/GCjMZA ).

The company’s general manager, Chong Kim, had hoped to put thousands of ocean wave power generators a mile offshore of the San Diego County beach that’s famous for its surfing and the dual domes of its nuclear power plant. The goal was to harness more than 3,000 megawatts of electricity.

But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said earlier this month that without federal grant money or a business partner, Kim could not provide the baseline information or conduct the necessary studies to even apply to build the generators.

“Based on the information you provided,” the commission said in a March 9 letter to Chong, “it is clear that you are not able to proceed with the licensing process at this time.”

FERC’s decision brings an indefinite halt to a plan that had already brought stiff opposition from surfers, fishermen and environmental groups.

The San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation praised the decision, issuing a statement saying that while it approaches renewable energy projects with an open mind, the San Onofre proposal “failed to meet the most basic requirements” to assess risks to the coastal environment.

Under the preliminary permit he was granted in 2010, Chong can continue studying the prospects for the wave farm until September 2013.

He did not respond to messages from the Times or The Associated Press seeking comment.

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