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Wave Energy Program Gets Federal Boost


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.

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.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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