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Newport, Reedsport chosen as finalists for $25-million wave energy facility

Posted by: | September 19, 2012 | No Comment |


By David Stauth, 541-737-0787

Contact: Belinda Batten, 541-737-9492 or bbatten@engr.oregonstate.edu

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The communities of Newport and Reedsport, Ore., have been chosen as the two finalists for the possible location of the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), a planned $25 million, “grid-connected” wave energy testing facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Officials at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, or NNMREC, at Oregon State University said these locations offer the best advantages in cost, distance to shore and other factors.

Committees will now be formed in Newport and Reedsport to conduct more detailed local site analysis before a final decision is made.

After funding is complete and the site is established, PMEC, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and other organizations, will feature four test berths connected to a regional electrical grid, able to test individual, utility-scale or small arrays of wave energy devices. Completion of this facility is not expected for several years after funding is finalized. But when done, officials said it will provide jobs and economic growth while attracting researchers from all over the world who will use it to test their wave energy technologies.

“We’ve carefully weighed a number of factors and decided that Newport and Reedsport have the most advantages for this project,” said Belinda Batten, a professor at OSU and director of NNMREC.

Among the factors involved in the decision, Batten said, were distance to the ocean depth from shore, access to support services and onshore infrastructure, community support and overall costs.

Newport has some level of supporting infrastructure already in place, good transportation, a nearby electrical substation and strong community support, officials said. Reedsport has less existing infrastructure but deeper water nearer to shore than other sites, supportive community leaders and other advantages.

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust collaborated with NNMREC in this selection process, which has included community forums and public outreach.

Those involved with the PMEC project anticipate Oregon will be the leader of wave energy development in the U.S., and the site of the first commercial generation of wave-produced electricity. Test facilities such as this will be a key factor in helping this evolving industry to move forward and develop optimum technologies for producing electricity from the largely untapped power of ocean waves.

NNMREC, one of only three U.S. Department of Energy-funded marine renewable energy centers, is a partnership between Oregon State University and the University of Washington, pulling together the institutions’ respective wave and tidal energy resources.


Editor’s Note: Additional detail on the criteria that went into this selection process and the relative advantages of the locations under consideration are available by contacting Belinda Batten or Anthony Casson at NNMREC, at 541-737-9492.

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