New Wave Energy Project in Oregon

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Photo By Fotolia/buia_gatta
Surf’s up! The grid-connected wave energy project getting off the ground in Oregon is the first of its kind in the United States.

Move over, wind and solar — another renewable energy source is about to make waves (or, rather, convert the energy of ocean waves to electricity). Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center has chosen Newport, Ore., as the future home of the nation’s first utility-scale wave-energy test site. Located about 5 miles offshore, the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) will include a variety of wave-energy devices, monitor the technologies’ environmental impacts, and deliver electricity back to the grid through undersea cables.

PMEC, which received its first round of funding in September 2012 from a $4 million Department of Energy grant, is set to make Oregon State University a global leader in wave power research as tech firms vie to test their products at the center. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the United States has enough offshore energy potential to supply nearly one-third of the country’s electricity needs via wave power. Check out the Oregon State University website for updates.