The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has awarded the first commercial wave energy project license. Finavera Renewables Inc., a Vancouver, British Columbia-based developer announced the milestone in December 2007.

The license is for the company’s Makah Bay Offshore Wave Pilot Project in northwest Washington state. It will consist of four 250-kilowatt steel wave energy conversion buoys and an associated mooring/anchoring and electrical connection system. Power will be transmitted to shore via a 3.7-statute-mile-long, direct-current, underwater transmission cable connecting from one of the buoy’s power cables to the shore station. A 20-foot, 12-kilovolt transmission line also will connect the shore station to the nearby existing Clallam County Public Utility District distribution line.

The project is planned as a 1-megawatt demonstration plant, which is expected to generate 1,500 megawatt-hours per year, enough power to supply about 150 homes in Neah Bay each year.

Construction must begin within two years, and the project must be completed within three years, or by December 2010, to comply with the terms of the license.