Wave Energy Program Gets Federal Boost

Sep 12, 2014

Oregon State University's Marine Renewable Energy program has been awarded new federal funding. The additional cash will help them get closer to connecting wave power to the grid.

Oregon State and the University of Washington were selected in 2008 to form one of three centers to research wave and tidal energy.

Diagram of the southern Newport test site.
Credit www.nnmrec.oregonstate.edu

Belinda Batten is a Director for the program. She says for two years, they've had an offshore test site north of Yaquina Head, where they've been studying the size and force of waves. The new funding will help them move forward:

Batten: "We are busy working on a test facility that will be the grid-connected test facility for the U.S. for utility-scale wave energy devices. That site will also be in Newport, but it's going to be south of the Yaquina River. And we're busy working on exactly where that site is going to be and we're working on design right now."

Batten says the southern site will test connecting wave power to the grid. She says it will still be "a while" before the ocean-based devices will be ready for commercial use.

The Department of Energy grant, up to 4 million dollars, will enable OSU to work with other programs. The funds will also be used to help reduce technical and economic obstacles.