Oregon's wave expertise attracts Neptune Wave Power

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Neptune Wave Power

Larrave (Photo by Hannah Gustin)

Rene Larrave, CEO of Neptune Wave Power, has a barrier to overcome as he nurtures his startup wave-energy technology company.

The company is based in Dallas, miles from any ocean.

Which is why Larrave and his engineers were in Corvallis this week, testing a wave buoy at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Lab on the Oregon State University campus.

And while he's here, he's taking a look around the business environment with the thought he might just open an office in Oregon.

"It's very encouraging," Larrave said. "The state is very committed and forward-thinking."

Larrave said he has met with members of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, a state-funded group that's nurturing the wave energy sector and met Thursday with Oregon Iron Works, a Clackamas company that has been contracted to build wave buoys for Ocean Power Technologies Inc. to be deployed off the Oregon Coast in Reedsport.

But what got Neptune Wave Power to Oregon in the first place is the resources Larrave found through the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, a joint program between OSU and Washington State University, including the Hinsdale lab.

"It's an incredible facility," Larrave said. "It had everything we needed."

The next step will be for the company to build a full-scale wave buoy, which harvests energy using a horizontally swinging pendulum, and deploy it in the ocean. Larrave said he's exploring the possibility of doing that test in Oregon, too.

Meleah Ashford, program manager of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, said the center is working on establishing an off-shore testing site near Newport that Neptune would use.

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