Category Archives: wave power

Oh buoy! California decision a blow for wave energy, and a Canadian developer

Finavera Renewables, a Vancouver-based wind and wave power developer, has enough troubles these days. The publicly traded company has shares trading at 5 cents and as an untested newcomer to the developer scene it’s considered much riskier than more established rivals when it comes to raising money, whether that be equity or debt. Not good when you’re staring in the face of the worst credit-crunch and financial-sector meltdown in at least a generation.

Nothing a prescription of Ativan can’t deal with, right? But then the California Public Utilities Commission comes along and nixes a wave-energy power purchase agreement between Finavera and Pacific Gas & Electric, which agreed to buy electricity from the Canadian company’s 2-megawatt wave project — the first commercial wave contract in the country, experts say. It was to use Finavera’s AquaBUOY technology, devices that turn the kinetic energy of vertical wave motion into emission-free electricity.

Greentech Media has the messy details here. The bottom line is that the commission declared the power-purchase price too high and the technology too unproven to proceed. Finavera has since put on a brave face, saying it will focus its efforts on projects under development in Canada and Ireland. But as nobel or attractive or economic any of those projects could be, the sad reality is that in this market at this time there’s not much wiggle room for setbacks.

NOTE: Speaking of Darwinism, the credit crunch and those least fit to survive, read this post from the Globe and Mail’s Andrew Willis about the struggles wind developer EarthFirst Canada is having because of difficulty finding financing. The death watch is on.