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Archive for Ocean Testing

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

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

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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Photo by Pat Kight/Oregon Sea Grant

While you were diving into a bowl of cereal and finishing your first cup of coffee this morning, you might have caught a glimpse of NNMREC and its wave energy testing efforts on The Weather Channel.

Dave Malkoff reported for The Weather Channel on NNMREC’s ocean testing session with the WET-NZ device in September. His television spot broadcast across the U.S. on the show “Wake Up With Al“. Check out the clip below, featuring comments by NNMREC Director Belinda Batten, NWEI Program Manager Justin Klure and Oregon Governer John Kitzhaber:

under: Ocean Testing
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