Renewable Energy

Getting Closer on Wave Power

By Steven Johnson | ECT Staff Writer Published: August 20th, 2010

The first commercial-scale wave power project in the United States, one that could supply renewable energy to a Northwest G&T, is closer to reality.

A New Jersey company is moving ahead with a wave energy project for PNGC Power. (Photo By: OPT)

A New Jersey company is moving ahead with a wave energy project for PNGC Power. (Photo By: OPT)

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    New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies announced Aug 4. that it has signed an agreement with 11 federal and state agencies and three non-governmental stakeholders for its planned wave farm at Reedsport, Ore..

    The company said the agreement represents “a major step” toward what would be the first license ever issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a utility-scale wave project.

    “The Settlement Agreement is a groundbreaking document that demonstrates the state’s commitment to partnering with the private sector and coastal communities to explore how we can tap into the renewable resource of ocean waves to power our communities,” Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in a statement.

    The company is planning a 1.5-megawatt wave energy station about 2.5 miles off the Oregon coast with 10 of its patented PowerBuoys.

    Portland, Ore-based PNGC Power has backed the project and could purchase the output, which will be the equivalent of enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.

    “This agreement demonstrates OPT’s commitment to develop wave power in a way that respects the environment and the needs of all who rely on ocean resources for many different uses,” said George Taylor, executive chairman of Ocean Power Technologies.

    “It shows how the private sector can work together effectively with federal, state, municipal and local groups to attain important common goals of sustainable development,” he said.

    The agreement covers a broad array of resource areas including aquatic resources, water quality, recreation, public safety, crabbing and fishing, terrestrial resources and cultural resources. It also contains an adaptive management plan that will be used to identify and implement any environmental studies that might be required.

    Manufacturing of the first 150-kilowatt PowerBuoy is under way at Oregon Iron Works. Kulongoski said buoy manufacturing already has brought dozens of green energy jobs to the state.