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Surfers, fisherman blast plan for wave farm off San Onofre coast

March 30, 2011 |  7:17 am

Sanon An Orange County entrepreneur wants to tap the power of the ocean waves off San Onofre State Beach by building one of the nation's first hydrokinetic wave farms.

To surfers, conservationists and fishing groups that fiercely protect San Onofre as one of the California coast's natural treasures, the idea is a half-baked proposal that has so far ignored potential effects on wildlife, surf patterns and even training exercises at the nearby Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Environmental groups, which are broadly supportive of renewable energy projects, said putting the devices in the waters of San Onofre could harm marine life and potentially mar the view from the coastline. Surfers are worried it would dampen waves and alter seafloor terrain along a stretch of coast famed for its surf breaks. Sport-fishing groups said a wave farm could block off favored waters for sand bass, bonito and barracuda fishing.

Federal energy regulators have given JD Products of Fountain Valley permission to begin a three-year study looking at the feasibility of installing thousands of ocean wave electricity generators a mile off San Onofre State Beach. The firm's general manager, Chong Hun Kim, said he chose the site because it is close to transmission lines that serve the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Kim said he hoped to connect offshore generators to the power grid through underwater cables and sell power to the plant's operator, Southern California Edison.

Read the full story: San Onofre wave farm idea churns up concerns


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-- Tony Barboza

 Map: Project at San Onofre. Credit: Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times