PG&E WaveConnect map and comments

Prelim map.

Comments after the jump:

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20426

April 30, 2010

OFFICE OF ENERGY PROJECTS

Project No. 12779-005 – California

Humboldt WaveConnect Project

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Brian McDonald, Director

Renewable Resource Development

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

77 Beale Street, MC B5Q-542

San Francisco, CA  94105-1814

Subject:  Comments on Draft Pilot License Application, Needed Plans, and Request for Additional Information

Dear Mr. McDonald:

On March 1, 2010, you filed a draft application for a pilot project license for the proposed Humboldt WaveConnect Project.  On March 3, 2010, the Commission issued a notice soliciting comments on the draft application and setting April 30, 2010, as the deadline for providing comments to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and filing them with the Commission.  Attached in Schedule A, we are providing you with our comments on your draft pilot license application, and requests for plans and additional information.  Also please note that upon our review of other stakeholder comments, we may have additional information needs or comments.

Largely, your draft application meets our regulatory requirements for a license application except as noted in the attached Schedule A.  We have, however, identified some need for additional information and/or analysis.  We also have some comments concerns with respect to your proposed monitoring plans[1] and various resource protection plans.[2] We also note that there is limited information on the bathymetry of the project area.

Before we can approve the use of the Commission’s pilot licensing procedures, your proposed monitoring plans must be revised.  Therefore, please file your revised monitoring plans, as specified in the attached Schedule A, within 120 days of the date of this letter (August 30, 2010).  Additionally, we are requesting that the resource protection plans be further developed and note that a bathymetric survey of the project area may need to be completed before you file your final license application.[3]

Upon the filing of the revised monitoring plans, we will provide stakeholders with a 30-day comment period to file comments (September 29, 2010).

Regarding our other comments and/or additional information requests, unless otherwise specified in Schedule A, please address these aspects in any final license application you may file.

Please file an original and eight copies of your response with:

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, N.E.,

Washington, D.C. 20426

The first page of the response should clearly show the project number, P-12779-005.  Your response may be filed electronically via the Internet in lieu of paper.  The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings.  See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission’s web site (http://www.ferc.gov) under the “eFiling” link.

Register online at http://www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects.  For assistance, contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at 1-866-208-3676, or for TTY, 202-502-8659.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter, please contact Kenneth Hogan at (202) 502-8434 or via e-mail at:  Kenneth.Hogan@ferc.gov.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Welch, Chief

West Branch

Division of Hydropower Licensing

Enclosure:            Schedule A

cc:             Service List

Mailing List

Public Files

Schedule A

Humboldt Draft License Application Review, Comments and Additional Information Requests

Initial Statement

In the final license application PG&E should demonstrate why the proposed project boundary is appropriate for the project and the wave energy conversion devices (WEC).  Because the WEC selection has not been identified to date, this justification has not been provided.

The draft license application was prepared pursuant to section 4.61 of the Commission’s regulations for projects 5 megawatts (MW) or less, and therefore, omits Exhibits B, C, & D.  However, upon our review, it appears that the proposed project would have an installed capacity greater than 5 MW.  If this is the case, your final license application (pursuant to section 5.18 of the Commission’s regulations), will need to comply with section 4.41.

Exhibit A

The specific WECs to be tested have not been identified in Exhibit A.  Please file a license application with a completed Exhibit A identifying the specific WECs to be installed and tested.  Please categorize the requested information in Exhibit A by technology type.  Also, provide a discussion of the expected service life of each technology.

Exhibit E

General

In Exhibit E you evaluate project effects by “levels of significance”.  In section 5.3.6 Threatened and Endangered Species, sub-section 5.3.6.2 Environmental Impact and Recommendations, you define the following degrees of effects:

  • negligible;
  • minor;
  • minor and less than significant;
  • less-than-significant; and
  • significant.

Please confirm whether or not the definitions provided in 5.3.6.2 also apply to other resource areas analyzed within Exhibit E?  If not, please define the “levels of significance” used throughout Exhibit E.

Section 3.2.3 – Page 3-24:  You state that the power cables in the off-shore zone will be separated by a maximum 100-feet buffer zone.  Please describe the minimum separation of the power cables based on project specific information.

Section 3.2.6 – Page 3-27:  You state that the decommissioning phase will begin once the license term has expired; please note that the Commission’s white paper on Licensing Hydrokinetic Pilot Project state that “Pilot projects will be required to complete project removal and site restoration before the end of the license unless the licensee obtains a new license covering the pilot project site.”  Please reconcile section 3.2.6 to reflect this.

Section 3.2.7 – Page 3-28:  You state that PG&E will encourage the use of mineral or biodegradable lubricants and hydraulic fluids in the WECs.  Please identify which WEC devices are capable/incapable of utilizing mineral/biodegradable lubricants and hydraulic fluids.  We note that in section 5.3.3.2.1, page 5.3.3-36, you state that the WECs will only use non-toxic mineral oils as lubricants and hydraulic fluids.  Please reconcile these two sections.

Section 4.2.1 – Page 4-9:  You state that a draft biological assessment (BA) is provided in Appendices E-5.3.6A, B, and C; however, these appendices do not include a draft BA and merely provide queried and/or observed special status plant and animal species.  Therefore, after consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, please file a draft BA with regard to any federally-listed endangered or threatened species with your final license application.

Water Resources

Section 5.3.2.1:  In the Affected Environment section of Water Resources, there is no description of the groundwater aquifer.  It is PG&E’s proposal to implement horizontal directional drilling to bring the project’s transmission cables ashore.  The resulting bore holes may act as a conduit for saltwater intrusion into the freshwater aquifer in the vicinity of the directional drilling.  Therefore, please provide a description of the aquifer in the vicinity of the proposed directional drilling, including any hydraulic connection to the dune swales wetlands on the Samoa Peninsula, water table, salinity, and a description of any known domestic or agricultural withdrawals.  Additionally, in section 5.3.2.2, and if appropriate, section 5.3.7.2,  please describe and analyze any potential effects and/or proposed measures associated with the proposed project on the aquifer in the vicinity of the proposed shore-based infrastructure, the dune swales wetlands, any domestic or agricultural withdrawals, or other land uses.

Section 5.3.2.2.2 – Page 5.3.2-39:  You indicate that there is a relatively small amount of hydraulic and transformer fluids contained within the WEC devices.  However, you do not quantify “relatively small.”  Please provide the fluid capacities of each WEC design proposed for deployment at the project.

Section 5.3.2.3 – Page 5.3.2-41:  You state that implementation of a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan (SPCC) will mitigate potential impacts of floating particulates, grease, and oil.  However, you have not provided an analysis of how the plan “will mitigate potential impacts”.  Section 5.3.2.3 should include the details of the SPCC and an analysis of how it will mitigate any potential impacts in the event of the release of floating particulates, grease, and oil.

Section 5.3.2.3 – Page 5.3.2-41: You state that implementation of a plan (HMMP) for all construction and operation and maintenance activities will reduce potential impacts to insignificant levels.   However, you have not provided the plan or an analysis of how the plan “will mitigate potential impacts” nor do you describe the impacts the plan will mitigate for.  Therefore, in section 5.3.2.3, please provide a description of the impacts of construction and operation and maintenance activities, details of the HMMP and an analysis of how it will reduce the impact described.  We also note that the acronym HMMP is not defined in Acronyms and Abbreviations on Page xiii.

Aquatic Resources

Section 5.3.3:  Many of the potential project related effects on fish and invertebrates have been identified as “unknown”.  In many cases PG&E proposes to conduct monitoring of these unknown effects, as described in the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan:  Fish and Invertebrates, enclosed in Appendix E-5.3.3 of the draft license application.  For each of the unknown effects proposed to be monitored, please describe and analyze in section 5.3.3.2, how monitoring results will be utilized to evaluate project effects and describe any biological triggers to be utilized to engage the proposed adaptive management of project facilities and/or operations to address any negative effects identified as a result of the monitoring.

Marine Mammals

Section 5.3.4 – Page 5.3.4-1:  You state that the “acoustic area” is defined as the greater area outside the immediate project footprint where noise and vibration from the WECs and boats associated with construction, operations and maintenance, and decommissioning activities could be detected by species.  Please include a map illustrating the acoustic area relative to the project area and in section 5.3.4 please quantify this area.

Section 5.3.4 – Page 5.3.4-37:  You state that information on sound levels produced by the WECs is limited, and the effects of noise on marine mammals are directly correlated with the strength of the noise can be ameliorated by ambient noise.  In your Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan for marine mammals (Appendix E-5.3.4), you state that the WECs are not expected to produce sound as high as 20kHz.  Your draft application and the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan for marine mammals provide information on individual species’ hearing frequencies as well as injury threshold sound pressure levels and sound exposure levels for cetaceans and pinnipeds.   Section 5.3.4.2 of your application, however, does not provide an analysis of potential adverse effects from the noise generated from the WECs on marine mammals, as identified in your Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan.  Please provide an analysis of potential effects of the expected noise frequencies generated from the WECs relative to the information you provide on hearing frequencies and injury threshold sound pressure and sound exposure levels.

Section 5.3.4.3 – Page 5.3.4-45:  You state you will develop a navigation plan for project construction that imposes a speed limit on vessels used in project construction.  In Table 5.3.4-5, you describe effects on multiple species from vessel traffic, injury from vessel collision and propeller strike, noise from vessels, and avoidance.  You also summarize possible environmental measures to mitigate these effects (such as limiting vessel speeds, the number of vessels and trips, and timing of trips).  However, you do not provide an analysis of specific measures to be implemented or demonstrate that the measures are appropriate or adequate.  Please include in Section 5.3.4.3 a detailed analysis of how your proposed measures correspond to the protection of marine mammals in the project area.

Terrestrial Resources

In Appendix E-5.3.5B:  Seabirds Section 2-1 – Page 4:  You state that the individual WEC devices will be marked with yellow flashing lights with an interval of up to 15 seconds, visible to 2 nautical miles, and that the WEC arrays may be marked as a group if they are closely spaced.  In section 5.3.5.2.2, please clarify how lighting may differ among the WECs if the devices are grouped in the final design of the project, and provide a description of any potential effects on seabirds as a result of different lighting and grouping among the WEC devices.

Section 5.3.6.1.1 – Page 5.3.6-2:  You state that additional surveys for special-status plant species throughout the entire terrestrial Humboldt WaveConnect Project area will take place in the spring and summer of 2010.  As such, please file, within 120 days, the results of the 2010 special-status plant species surveys and include the survey results in your final license application.

Recreation Resources

Section 5.3.7.1 – Page 5.3.7-2:  You state that Humboldt Bay currently supports seven active shipping terminals, of which three are located on the North Spit including Redwood Marine Terminal, Simpson Chip Export, and Fairhaven Business Park.  In order to better understand effects of the project on these terminals, please identify the location of each shipping terminal on figure 5.3.7-2.

Section 5.3.7.1 – Page 5.3.7-13:  You state that offshore fishing trips (greater than 3 miles offshore) accounted for almost 5 percent of all oceangoing fishing trips.  However, you do not address the effects of the project on offshore recreational fishing trips.  Therefore, please include a discussion and analysis of project effects on offshore fishing trips greater than 3 miles offshore.

Section 5.3.7.1 – Page 5.3.7-15:  You state that popular surfing sites are located in the vicinity of the project (see Figure 5.3.7-2).  In order to better understand effects of the project on surfers’ recreational experience; please identify the location of popular surfing sites on figure 5.3.7-2.

Land Use

Section 5.3.7.1 – Page 5.3.7-31:  You state the construction of the offshore project components would prohibit all vessels from transiting the offshore work area for 12 months:  6 months in the spring/summer of 2012 and an additional 6 months in the spring/summer of 2013, causing a direct but temporary effect.  However, you have not defined the construction area in which vessel transit would be prohibited.  Therefore, please describe the specific dimensions of the offshore work area.

Section 5.3.7.2.3 – Page 5.3.7-31:  In this section you identify several potential use conflicts if the project were installed (e.g. commercial fishing, shipping, whale-watching, and military operations).  You further state that the greatest potential for conflict with ocean uses would be with crab fishing activities, which take place generally within 3 nautical miles of shore and both north and south of the Humboldt Bay Harbor entrance. While you have identified the potential effects of the project on other use activities, you have not provided any analysis demonstrating the level of the effect (e.g. projected effect of removing 1 square mile of crab fishing grounds on annual crab harvests) on potential use conflicts noted above.  Therefore, please provide a detailed analysis of how the presence of the proposed project may affect each of the identified ocean uses.

Cultural Resources

Section 5.3.8.1.2 – Page 5.3.8-9:  You state that, at the time the [cultural resources] literature search was conducted, the project area was defined as the entire Humboldt WaveConnect Project FERC preliminary permit area as well as the area onshore adjacent to the permit area, composing most of the North and South Spits of Humboldt Bay.  If by “project area” you mean “area of potential effect (APE),” please revise as such.  Further, at the top of Page 5.3.8-10, you state that, in October 2009, a much smaller and more refined APE was delineated.  Please explain how the APE was refined.

Section 5.3.8.1.2 – Page 5.3.8-10:  You state that the smaller, more refined APE consists of 5 key components.  Because construction staging areas may affect cultural resources, please add a sixth component to the APE definition that states, “any construction staging areas including a 100-foot buffer around those areas.”  In addition, the APE should be expanded to include a 100-foot buffer around the onshore areas designated for the placement of electrical conditioning equipment (component number 4), as well as a 100-foot buffer around the aboveground transmission line that would connect the conditioning equipment to the existing PG&E Fairhaven Substation (component number 5).  Finally, a seventh component shall be added to include the off-shore cable route, and the seafloor within the WEC anchoring zone.

Section 5.3.8.1.2 – Page 5.3.8-17:  You state that a pedestrian archeological survey was conducted in November, 2009.  However, this survey did not include the APE as revised by staff in above.   As a result, the pedestrian archeological survey will need to be expanded to include these additional terrestrial areas.  The results of this expanded survey should be included as part of your final license application.  Maps and/or figures depicting the above information as it relates to the APE (as revised by staff) should also be included in the report.  Additionally, we note that the cultural resources surveys that you conducted for the proposed project did not include a systematic survey of the ocean seafloor and sub-bottom in the offshore area within the APE.  This information may be necessary for staff to evaluate the proposed project’s impacts to cultural resources in the off-shore project area.

Aesthetics

Section 5.3.9.2.1 – Page 5.3.9-17:  You state the WECs are visible in the simulated views toward the project area (provided in Figures 5.3.9-2b-5b).  However, the views provided in the simulations only provide the visual aspect of the project during daylight hours.  Because the project will be marked for navigation with lights, please provide a description of the visual aspect of the WECs at night.  Additionally, you have not described the visual impacts of the WECs on at-sea recreation users (e.g. fisherman, sea kayakers, boaters and surfers, etc.) and those using the project area.  In section 5.3.9 please describe and analyze the visual effects of the project on ocean based recreationists.

Exhibit F

Please provide Exhibit F drawings for the proposed project and for all the technology(s) to be installed and tested.

Exhibit G

The proposed Exhibit G drawings need to be revised to include the transmission line from where it comes on shore to the switch yard.  Also, the drawings need to be designated as Exhibit G drawings and the location of the tested technologies need to be shown on the drawings.  Please label the existing drawing as to what exists and what is proposed.  Also, please label the project boundary and clearly mark the facilities for the project.  The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Industrial Terminal Reservoir should not be included within the project boundary.  Therefore, please revise the project boundary to exclude the terminal reservoir.

Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plans

We have some concerns with your proposed monitoring and adaptive management plans (monitoring plans) that will need to be addressed before we can authorize the use of the Commission’s Pilot Licensing Procedures.  As a result, we are requesting that the following monitoring and adaptive management plans included in Appendix E of your draft application be revised and filed with the Commission, within 120 days of the date of this letter (August 30, 2010).  When revising the monitoring plans, all comments and recommendations submitted by the agencies in response the Commission’s notice soliciting comments on the draft application (issued March 3, 2010), shall be included with the filings.  The plan shall specifically address how the agencies’ comments and recommendations have been considered.  If you do not adopt a recommendation, the plan shall include PG&E’s reasons, based on project-specific information.

Additionally, you shall continue to consult with the California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, the California Coastal Commission, the California Water Resources Control Board, and interested tribes on the revisions to the monitoring plans.

Upon the filing of the revised monitoring plans, we will provide stakeholders with a 30-day comment period to file comments.

Appendix E-5.3.3:  Fish and Invertebrates

Following sections 2.1.3 and 2.2.3, please identify specific biological triggers[4] that would be utilized to determine the level of significance of the predation, and what adaptive management action alternatives that may be taken if resulting predation exceeds the biological trigger thresholds.  Additionally, as mentioned above, the biological triggers and the adaptive management actions alternatives should be discussed in section 5.3.3.2 of Exhibit E of the final license application.

Sections 2.1.1 and 2.2.1:  These sections state that data will be collected at the project site and two control sites.  We note, however, that the two control sites for these sections have not been identified.  Therefore, please identify the control sites to be sampled, including a map showing their proximity to the project area and a comparative description of the project area and the proposed control sites and evaluate the appropriateness of the control sites.

Sections 2.1.1 and 2.2.1:  While these sections identify the collection of data at the project site and two control sites, Figures 1 and 2 do not demonstrate how the data collected at the project site will be compared with those collected at the control sites or how this will influence an adaptive management decision making process.

Section 2.3.1 – Figure 3:  Monitoring Question 2 is footnoted to state “EMF sensitivity thresholds for green sturgeon are not known at this time but may be determined in future research efforts.”  In the event that green sturgeon (or appropriate surrogate) sensitivity to EMF has not been determined by this stage of the study’s implementation, Monitoring Question 2 should default to Monitoring Question 3 “Are tagged fish encountering the project?”

Section 2.3.1 – Pages 18 and 19:  You state that “If a substantial migration delay occurs…then it could be concluded that adverse effects on green sturgeon migration exists…”  Please define “substantial migration delay”.

Section 2.3.3 – Page 19:  You state that receiver data will be downloaded at least every 4 months.  We question the appropriateness of this downloading frequency.  We recommend that downloads be conducted on a frequency interval sufficient to identify “substantial migration delays” and to allow for corrective action to be taken (e.g. project shutdown) to rectify the adverse affect on migrating green sturgeon.  Additionally, as mentioned above, the biological triggers (substantial migration delay) and the adaptive management actions to be taken should be discussed in section 5.3.6.3 of Exhibit E of the final license application and in your draft biological assessment.

Section 2.4.1 – Figure 4:  Monitoring Question 2 is footnoted to state “EMF sensitivity thresholds for Dungeness crab are not known at this time but may be determined in future research efforts.”  In the event that Dungeness crab (crab) sensitivity to EMF has not been determined by this stage of the study’s implementation, Monitoring Question 2 should default to Monitoring Question 3.

Section 2.4.2 – Page 27:  You state that the short-term crab telemetry study will begin after the receiver array for green sturgeon and elasmobranches has been removed.  However, the tagging study for green sturgeon and elasmobranches is proposed to be conducted, after WEC installation, for two spring and fall migration seasons.  This would result in no data collection on the project’s EMF effects on crab for the first two years of the project’s operation.  Please modify section 2.4.2 to initiate the crab telemetry study during the first summer/early fall season of the project’s operations.  Alternatively, please provide project specific and biologically based reasoning for initiating the crab telemetry study three years following WEC deployment and operation.

Section 2.5.1 – Figure 5, and Section 2.5.4 – Page 32:  Monitoring Question 2 of Figure 5 is footnoted to state “Biologists are currently seeking funding for behavioral and neurophysiologic studies to evaluate effects of EMF.”  Section 2.5.4 states that detailed behavioral and neurophysiologic studies on elasmobranchs would be needed to determine project related EMF effects; “however, such studies are beyond the scope…” of the monitoring plan.  In the event that sensitivity of elasmobranchs to EMF has not been determined by this stage of the study’s implementation (by other researchers), what alternative monitoring and evaluation is proposed to determine if the project is having an effect on elasmobranchs?

Section 2.6 – Issue 6:  Issue 6 states that biofouling may result in shell mounds on the ocean floor which may provide habitat for invasive non-native species.  Section 2.6.1 states that biofouling, the presence of shell mounds, and species present will be monitored.  Section 2.6.3 also states that monitoring for the presence of non-native invertebrate species will occur.  However, there is no adaptive management component to the proposed monitoring plan (other than how the monitoring will be implemented).  The monitoring plan should also describe what actions (if any) will be taken in the event that invasive non-native species are observed.

Appendix E-5.3.4:  Marine Mammals

Section 3.1.1 – Page 6: You state that marine mammals could become entangled in the WEC devices or in lost fishing gear.  In Figure 1, if the answer is yes to question two (is lost fishing gear becoming entangled in the WEC devices, riser cable, or mooring cables?) and question three (are marine mammals becoming entangle in the WEC device moorings or transmission rise cable or in lost fishing gear fixed to one of the WEC mooring or riser cables?), the plan states that the frequency of lost gear removal will be adjusted, and modifications to the design will be considered to reduce entanglement.  The plan also states that monitoring frequency may be increased if lost gear entanglement or animal entanglement presents a problem, and that a large number of entanglements could trigger the need for management measures to repel marine mammals from the area.  Please provide a specific target number of entanglements that would occur to trigger the need for these management measures, as well as an explanation of why that trigger is appropriate.  Please also rectify Figure 1 to reflect this step as a follow up to questions two and three, and clarify that you will be monitoring for the effectiveness of any modifications implemented on the WEC devices to prevent entanglement.

Section 3.2.1 – Pages 11-15.  In Figure 2, if the answer is yes to question two (is the WEC device noise loud enough to injure marine mammal hearing?), you conclude the devise is too loud for the marine environment and should be altered or redesigned to reduce noise levels, or discontinued from use.  You also state that if project-associated noise frequency exceeds sensitivity thresholds for one or more marine mammal species, further studies and device modifications (such as adding noise baffling) may be considered to determine if the noises are negatively affecting those species.  However, you do not provide for additional monitoring to determine the effectiveness of any modifications to the design of the WECs.  Please provide for and describe any additional monitoring methods to determine how any modifications to the WECs will reduce noise levels and impacts to the marine environment.

Section 3.3.1 – Page 17:  You state that if WECs are further modified to prevent haul out, additional monitoring will be used to determine if these modifications effectively prevent hauling out.  However, this additional monitoring step is not included in Figure 3 (page 19), monitoring question two (are sea lions hauling out on devices?).  Please rectify the figure to reflect this step as a follow up to question two, and clarify that you will be monitoring for the effectiveness of any devise modifications, and describe what those modifications might entail based on any existing information.

Needed Resource Protection Plans

We have identified some resource protection plans that will need modification prior to the filing of your final pilot license application.  When developing the plans you shall consult with the California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, the California Coastal Commission, the California Water Resources Control Board, and interested tribes.  You shall provide a minimum of 30-days for the consulted entities to provided comments and recommendations.  All comments and recommendations submitted by the consulted entities shall be included as an appendix to the plan.  The plan shall specifically address how the entities’ comments and recommendations have been considered.  If you do not adopt a recommendation, the plan shall include PG&E’s reasons, based on project-specific information.

Multiple Resources – Bathymetric Study Plan

Section 3.2.3 – Page 3-23:  You state that the route of the off-shore power cables will avoid any environmentally sensitive areas identified, based on a bathymetric survey, which will be completed before installation begins.  In consultation with the above mention entities, please define “environmentally sensitive areas” and file a proposed study plan that includes a bathymetric survey, a side-scan sonar survey, a magnetometer survey, a sub-bottom survey, sediment sampling, a towed video, and a diver survey, and is consistent with our comments on your cultural resources of Exhibit E of the draft license application above (Section 5.3.8.1.2).  Please file the proposed study plan and definition of “environmentally sensitive areas” within 90-days of the date of this letter.

Based upon our review of the proposed study plan and your definition of “environmentally sensitive areas”, including cultural resources, we may find that there is a need for the survey of the off-shore power cable route and WEC anchoring area prior to the filing of the final license application.

Geology and Soils – Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

Section 5.3.1.3 – Page 5.3.1-17:  You state that a stormwater pollution prevention plan will be prepared for the project and that best management practices (BMPs) will be followed during construction and operation.  However, you do not describe what specific BMPs will be implemented.  Therefore, with your final license application, please file a stormwater pollution prevention plan with a description of the specific BMPs that will be employed during the construction and operation of the project.

Water Resources – Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan

Section 5.3.2.3 – Page 5.3.2-41:  You state that implementation of a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan (SPCC) will mitigate potential impacts of floating particulates, grease, and oil.  However, you have not provided the plan to support an evaluation of how the plan “will mitigate potential impacts”.  Therefore, with your final license application, please file a spill prevention and counter measure plan. The plan should describe in detail, the types of BMPs that will be employed, and how they will mitigate potential impacts of floating particulates, grease, and oil.

Water Resources – HMMP

Section 5.3.2.3 – Page 5.3.2-41: You state that implementation of a HMMP for all construction and operation and maintenance activities will reduce potential impacts to insignificant levels.   However, you have not provided the plan, or an evaluation of how the plan “will mitigate potential impacts” nor a description of the impacts the plan will mitigate for.  Therefore, with your final license application, please file a HMMP.  The plan should describe in detail, the specific measures that will be employed during the construction and operation of the project.

Marine Mammals – Construction Navigation Plan

Section 5.3.4.3 – Page 5.3.4-45:  You state you will develop a navigation plan for project construction that imposes a speed limit on vessels used in project construction.  You also summarize possible environmental measures to mitigate these effects (such as limiting vessel speeds, the number of vessels and trips, and timing of trips).  However, you do not provide the construction navigation plan itself or any specific measures to be implemented.  Therefore, with your final license application, please file a construction navigation plan. The plan should describe in detail, the specific measures to be implemented during the project’s construction for the protection of marine mammals.

Terrestrial Resources – Vegetation Management Plan

Section 5.3.5.3.1 – Page 5.3.5-22:  You state that where impacts on sensitive or protected vegetation communities cannot be avoided, the pre-construction topography and vegetation community should be restored and a vegetation management and restoration plan should be developed and implemented within the next appropriate growing season.  You also state that vegetation management plans are likely to include transplanting or mitigation plantings, removal of non-native invasive plant species from native plant habitat, and a monitoring program to evaluate the success of implemented management actions and identify the need for maintenance actions. So that we may fully evaluate the benefits of the vegetation management and restoration plan, with your final license application, please file a vegetation management plan with specific mitigation measures based on the measures tentatively identified above.

Additional Information Needs

Finally, so that we may fully evaluate your proposed project, with your final license application, please provide our following additional information needs:

  • The estimated generation (estimated minimum and maximum generating capacity) and associated cost by technology and a detailed explanation of how each of the tested technologies will operate.
  • A detailed explanation of how the tested technologies will be moored to the ocean floor and associated safety concerns.
  • A detailed breakdown of what is included in the annual costs item in table A-2.
  • An estimate of the value of the power of the proposed project to PG&E, and the basis for estimating the value.
  • The estimated capital cost and estimated operation and maintenance expense of each proposed environmental measure and monitoring plan.
  • The number, length, voltage and interconnections of any primary transmission lines proposed and whether the line will be AC or DC.
  • A description of any additional mechanical, electrical and transmission equipment appurtenant to the project.
  • A discussion on the grants that PG&E will be pursuing to help fund the development of the project.

[1] The monitoring and adaptive management plans include: Fish and Invertebrates (Appendix E-5.3.3), and Marine Mammals (Appendix E-5.3.4).

[2] The draft plans include: (1) a stormwater pollution prevention plan; (2)  a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan; (3) a HMMP; (4) a construction navigation plan; (5) a vegetation management plan; and (6) a safeguard plan, as described in Appendix A-1.

[3] The resource protection plans shall be filed with the final license application.

[4] If the project’s WECs are determined to be acting as fish aggregation devices (FAD) or artificial reef and fish species of concern are being predated upon at a greater rate than observed at the control sites.

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