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PG&E Abandons Plans To Develop Wave Power Along California Coast

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Two people watch the waves at San Francisco's Ocean Beach. (AP)

Two people watch the waves at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Pacific Gas and Electric has given up on research to harness the power of ocean waves to generate electricity.

PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said the cost of developing wave power generators that could survive rough ocean waters was too high, but the utility does expect to one day include wave power in its renewable energy portfolio.

“As a publicly owned utility, it’s not something we want to be involved in at the development stage. We want to share what we’ve learned and hope that technology moves forward,” he said.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

PG&E spent $6 million of state and federal money to study the viability of three sites along the California coast before ultimately surrendering permits for sites in Humboldt and Mendocino counties and one near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The advantage wave-generated power holds over wind and solar energy is that tidal currents would be more constant.

“Solar is proven and works great, but you need sunshine. Wind is proven and great, but you need wind,” Boyles said. Once a viable plant is operational, “wave energy’s going to be produced around the clock.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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