Federal cash comes through for wave energy testing site
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
A $4 million grant form the U.S. Department of Energy provides half the cash needed by the Oregon State University-based Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center to build a larger, grid-connected wave energy test facility.
The U.S. Department of Energy stepped up with a $4 million grant that will cover half the tab to build a grid-connected wave energy test facility off the Oregon Coast.
Oregon's Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with Congressman Kurt Schrader, also a Democrat, presented the award as proof that Oregon is on the leading edge of wave energy.
“Oregon has always been considered to be ahead of the curve in renewable energy innovation,” Schrader said. “The expansion of Oregon State University’s wave energy technology research furthers our tradition of blazing the trail to a secure energy future."
The grant positions the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center as one of three DOE-sponsored ocean energy centers in the country. The center is a partnership between Oregon State University and the University of Washington and sits on the OSU campus. The other centers are based at the University of Hawaii and Florida Atlantic University.
Officials at the center last week narrowed down their search for a home base for the test facility to two Oregon Coast locations: Newport or Reedsport. Committees are investigating which site will ultimately be chosen.
The DOE grant requires another $4 million in matching funds which Belinda Batten, an OSU professor and director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, said would be pulled together from other federal, state and private sources.
The facility will be an offshore laboratory where wave energy devices would be plugged in to the on-shore electrical grid to test their capabilities. The project is in response to the industry's need for an ocean test facility to speed the commercialization process of new wave energy technology.
The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center has a smaller-scale test site up and running near Newport. The large facility is still three years away from being fully developed.
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