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Portland Business Journal logoThe Portland Business Journal reports…

A wave energy amendment sponsored by an Oregon Congressional rep has passed through the House.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, a Portland Democrat, was one of a handful of leaders looking to boost wave energy research funding by $9 million.

The amendment looks to restore some of the $20 million from the Department of Energy’s Water Power program after the House Appropriations Committee cut it by $20 million below fiscal year 2014 levels.

The Water Power program backs, among other efforts, wave energy projects launched by Oregon State University, along with hydropower programs.

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BOEM logoThe Oregon Coast Daily News is one outlet helping to circulate these good tidings… The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced its next step toward issuing a lease to NNMREC of federal waters off Oregon for hydrokinetic device testing! BOEM has exclusive jurisdiction to issue leases, easements, and rights-of-way regarding hydrokinetic projects around the Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM determined that it is appropriate to issue the lease to NNMREC on a non-competitive basis. However, the regulatory process is expected to continue for up to two more years.

“Wave energy off the West Coast has incredible potential. Now we have reached an important step in the leasing process for the nation’s first grid-connected facility in federal waters to test commercial-scale wave energy devices.” -BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank

“We are extremely pleased that BOEM has made a determination of no competitive interest, particularly given the role of the local community in selecting this location for the test site.” -NNMREC Operations Manager Brenda Langley

Read the article here…

under: Information, Ocean Testing, PMEC

A local newspaper, the Lincoln County Dispatch, has published an excellent wrap-up of NNMREC’s past and future (projected) as it was explained by NNMREC Director Belinda Batten (pictured below) to a public open-house last Thursday in Newport, Oregon. We did notice that Reporter Larry Coonrod was asking Belinda a lot of questions! Anyone who missed our open-house should check out his article!

PMEC Open House in Newport, OR, 22 May 2014

Article in Lincoln County Dispatch

under: Community, PMEC

offshore_demo_pp_0The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the upcoming installation of five Siemens six-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines off Oregon’s coast, by Principle Power. Environmental characterization of the “WindFloat” site was assisted by NNMREC’s Brian Polagye, Rob Suryan and Sarah Henkel, while NNMREC’s Jim Thomson will support characterization of waves and currents as they pertain to the mooring system design. WindFloat demonstrates the use of a domestically developed semi-submersible floating foundation, and will be assembled on-shore and towed out to sea, mitigating the need for the costly vessels typically used to assemble and install offshore wind systems.

Learn more from the U.S. Department of Energy…

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Summer Test Update

Posted by: | September 6, 2013 | No Comment |

It’s summer in Oregon, the weather’s beautiful, and what does that mean at NNMREC? Ocean Sentinel, our mobile ocean test buoy is in the PMEC-NETS in Newport, characterizing wave energy buoys. But wait…you’re on Yaquina Head with binoculars and you see Ocean Sentinel, but nothing else. What’s the story?

Unfortunately, this growing industry relies on funding to develop devices, to test these devices, advancing devices to maturity when we will have commercial arrays and energy from ocean waves powering our lights. And this year, the funding was not in place for a developer who needed to test with Ocean Sentinel to be out in the water.

Is this bad?  Well, it’s tough for us around NNMREC to be patient. It was so exciting to kick off our first testing season with WET-NZ in 2012. We were all ready to do it again. But NNMREC is more than just device testing. We are university faculty and students who do research to understand not only how much energy devices produce but also the effects of these devices on the ocean environment. And to help us in future tests, we’re taking the opportunity to do environmental monitoring around Ocean Sentinel, and to study its behavior, understanding attributes like the forces Ocean Sentinel exerts on its mooring system. By doing this kind of research, we’ll have a better idea when we monitor a device whether the effects we observe are due to the Sentinel or to the device. By understanding Ocean Sentinel’s mooring system better, we may be able to help developers with their designs.

Even when it looks calm in the water, NNMREC may be up to something below the surface that is helping us to understand wave energy and what it means for our environment and communities.

Belinda Batten, Director

under: Ocean Testing

As the plane swooped low over the Potomac in our final descent, we joked of being
a modern day George Washington though in an airplane, not a wooden
dingy. In some respects though, revolution was in the air. It’s not
the British keeping us in restraint this time around, but rather the
belief that traditional energy sources are the only way forward.

An alternative path could be found at this years Global Marine
Renewable Energy Conference where I had the privilege of presenting
modeling and simulation work I had been developing over the last six
months. The conference included researchers and industry
representatives from all over the world. Meeting others outside of
your typical day to day experience, who share your interest and
passion for getting the marine energy business off the ground,
affords you the chance to gain some valuable perspective. From
scientists and engineers, to ecologists and policy advisers, to
developers and regulators, there was an eclectic mix of individuals
all focused on the same overarching goal: how do we take this
industry to the next level?

My contribution was to present my research in the hopes of expanding
everyone’s knowledge. And the reverse was also true. I was able to
tap into other people’s ideas adding to and expanding my knowledge of
the industry. I was able to see the problems regulators and
developers face, and how those problems might be resolved. I saw
turbine developers and research engineers battling it out over the
validity of results. At the end of the day, everyone was able to
learn something from each other and move the industry forward.

When the conference ended for the night we hopped on bikes and
cruised around the sprawling metropolis of our nation’s capital. The
Air and Space Museum, National Gallery, and Library of Congress all
afforded incredible opportunities to marvel at what we as a people
are capable of accomplishing. This capability gives me great hope for
the marine energy industry, as we take it to the next level.

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Nice article from the Pacific Standard featuring NNMREC PI Tuba Ozkan-Haller : http://www.psmag.com/environment/how-to-detect-dangerous-rip-currents-riptide-52211/

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A Wave Energy Partnership

Posted by: | January 25, 2013 | 3 Comments |

(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Oregon State University Advantage.)

Harnessing Wave Power through a Winning University-Industry Partnership

At Oregon State University’s O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, a small yellow buoy with several bright red lights bobs up and down in the mechanically created waves. Although it may not look like much to the casual observer, the apparatus is a test model for a next-generation device intended to capture energy from the continual movement of the ocean. Rigorous testing of this model is necessary before researchers begin assessing much larger units off the Oregon Coast.

The new wave-power technology was made possible by a unique partnership between Oregon State University and Columbia Power Technologies. “Columbia Power Technologies is an example of a long-term partnership where the company has advanced their technologies through work with OSU,” said Belinda

Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC). “It has licensed some of Oregon State’s intellectual property and several students have graduated and gone on into this industry. That, for us is a real success.”

From a broad perspective of economic development, university-industry partnerships make good sense, but collaborating with academia is a new concept for most companies. The Oregon State–Columbia Power partnership provides a case study that illuminates the benefits when industry and academia join forces.


under: Community
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WASHINGTON — Congressman Schrader (D-OR) today applauded the Northwest National Marine Energy Center (NNMREC), which is based at Oregon State University, for its selection of the coastal town of Newport as the future home of the first utility-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States — the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC).

“I am extremely proud of Oregon State University for not only securing PMEC in Newport, but also for their efforts to involve all public and private stakeholders throughout the entire process,” Rep. Schrader said. “Without the participation of all parties involved this would not have been possible. The construction of this site will draw global attention to Oregon, further our reputation as pioneers in the alternative energy industry and bring jobs and economic development throughout our coastal communities.”


Congressman Schrader speaks about Newport and PMEC

under: Ocean Testing, PMEC
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CORVALLIS, Ore.  – The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, or NNMREC, which is based at Oregon State University, has chosen Newport, Ore., as the future site of the first utility-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States – the Pacific Marine Energy Center.

The Pacific Marine Energy Center, or PMEC, will test energy generation potential and environmental impacts of wave energy devices, at an ocean site about five miles from shore. Subsea cables will transmit energy from the wave energy devices to the local power grid, and data to scientists and engineers at on-shore facilities.

The first installment of funding for PMEC was received in September, 2012, consisting of $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, along with a non-federal cost match.

“PMEC represents a major step toward the development of energy from Oregon’s ocean waters,” said Jason Busch of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. “I’m certain that Oregon will reap benefits from PMEC for many years to come, and the research and development performed at PMEC will help usher in this new form of reliable electricity from the sea.”

PMEC design and specific site characterization will begin soon, along with the permitting and regulatory process. NNMREC will continue to work with a variety of partners to develop additional funding sources. The exact ocean location for the PMEC site will be finalized in the next few months in a zone that has been selected in collaboration with ocean stakeholders – an area that will not impede shipping lanes and takes environmental impacts into consideration.

The Pacific Marine Energy Center will have four “test berths,” open spaces of water dedicated to testing individual devices or small arrays of devices, each of which will be connected to the community’s electrical grid. It will also collect data associated with environmental and human dimension impacts. Completion will take several years.

“This site selection builds on the global reputation of Oregon State University in both renewable energy research and marine science,” said Rick Spinrad, OSU vice president for research. “Future research results from this site will help ensure our state’s leadership in these critical areas.”

The development and operation of this facility will provide jobs and other economic development as it attracts researchers and device developers to the Oregon coast from around the world, officials said. While under development, the Ocean Sentinel, NNMREC’s mobile ocean test buoy platform operating out of Toledo, will continue its work testing energy devices at its ocean test site north of Yaquina Head.

Advances in wave power technology are also one example of the growing partnerships between OSU and private industry. The university just announced a major new initiative, the Oregon State University Advantage, which includes such programs as the OSU Venture Accelerator and the Industry Partnering Program. It’s expected to help create 20 new businesses within the next five years while enhancing student education and Oregon’s economic growth.

In an extensive site selection process, NNMREC worked with four coastal communities to consider both technical criteria and community resources.  The options were narrowed last fall to Reedsport and Newport, the two communities that best matched the needed criteria for PMEC. Site selection teams from those communities submitted proposals in December.

The selection was ultimately based on ocean site characteristics, marine and on-shore cable routes, port and industry capabilities, impacts to existing ocean users, permitting challenges, stakeholder participation in the proposal process, and support of the local fishing communities.

“Both communities were committed to finding a home for PMEC,” said Kaety Hildenbrand of Oregon Sea Grant, coordinator of the site team process. “They spoke to their own strengths and demonstrated their unique assets.”

Belinda Batten, director of NNMREC, said the communities were similar in their capacities and capabilities, and the final choice focused on making PMEC a global competitor among international test facilities. All coastal communities will benefit from the growth of this industry on the Oregon coast, she said.

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust has supported PMEC and helped create a wave energy development regulatory process that meshes the needs of ocean stakeholders and the state. The agency has also helped address key points in Gov. Kitzhaber’s 10-year energy plan, including how wave energy is integrated into Oregon’s power grid while maintaining high environmental standards.

NNMREC is a partnership between OSU and University of Washington, focused on wave and tidal energy respectively, and receives a substantial part of its funding from U.S. Department of Energy. NNMREC operates a non-grid connected wave energy testing facility in Newport north of Yaquina Head and supports intermediate scale device testing in Puget Sound and Lake Washington. PMEC will complete the wave energy device test facilities.

under: Community, Ocean Testing, PMEC
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