CORVALLIS, Ore. – These are the formative years of a West Coast wave energy industry, and scientists are working with businesses, communities and policymakers to gather environmental data, test new technologies and consider options — all of which will be explored June 11 at the Corvallis Science Pub.
Belinda Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, will describe projects under way, including one that will be visible from Newport this summer.
The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St., in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.
“We’ve got the technical side, the environmental side and the outreach to communities through Oregon Sea Grant,” Batten said. “You don’t have that everywhere.”
Wave-energy systems, she said, will need to survive extreme ocean conditions and minimize impact on the environment and traditional ocean uses.
OSU engineers are testing wave-energy devices and working with AXYS Technologies, Inc., of Vancouver, B.C., to deploy a new offshore moored test buoy this summer. Developers will be able to attach their prototypes to the buoy and monitor power production and other functions. A search is also under way for an additional ocean test site that can be connected to the nation’s power grid.
Companies such as Columbia Power Technologies of Corvallis, Neptune Wave Power and Northwest Wave Energy Innovations have been discussing plans for testing prototypes. A fourth company, Ocean Power Technologies, has already received permits for a small commercial-scale device near Reedsport, Ore.
To add a new wrinkle to ocean energy, scientists are also investigating the potential to capture energy from sea winds. With a U.S. Department of Energy grant, Rob Suryan, a sea bird expert at OSU, will lead a team to develop remote monitoring technologies that can assess potential wind turbine impacts on sea birds and bats.
Since its establishment in 2008, NNMREC has attracted nearly $20 million in private, state and federal support. It’s a collaboration between Oregon State University and the University of Washington.