Wave Power Project Planned for Oregon

While a number of European countries are moving full-steam ahead on wave power development, the idea of harnessing ocean waves to generate electricity has remained a concept here in the US. That may be changing soon, as New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has applied for a permit from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build a 50 megawatts (MW) wave power installation off the Oregon coast. If approved, this would be the first utility-scale wave energy project in the country. According to the company's press release (in PDF),
As part of the initial programme for the OPT Wave Park to be located at Reedsport, the Company expects to install its ocean-tested PowerBuoysâ„¢ initially generating a total of 2MW approximately 2.5 miles off the coast at a depth of 50 metres. Approval for the full-scale 50 MW wave power plant following completion of the initial programme is expected to result in significant investment and creation of jobs in the state of Oregon.

Dr. George Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of OPT, said: "This application to FERC represents a major step in the development of OPT's wave power projects in the US for large scale electricity generation. When completed, this plant will provide renewable power into the grid supplying the West Coast of the US. It is very encouraging to note that the state of Oregon has taken a very proactive role in the development of wave energy, under the leadership of its Governor."

While other coastal areas in the US have been cited as strong candidates for "wave farms," Oregon seems committed to making this form of renewable energy a reality. We wonder if wave power will generate any of the criticism we've seen develop in response to other large-scale renewable generation installations. Thanks to reader Matt Birchard for the tip! ::Portland Business Journal