Wave energy gains traction, $4.7M in federal funding
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Oregon State University's Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center is seeking community input as it decides on a spot for a grid-connected testing ground for wave energy devices.
Wave energy development is seeing a flurry of activity in Oregon thanks to $4.7 million in grants from the United States Department of Energy and an influx of funding from a state initiative aimed at igniting the sector.
The Oregon Wave Energy Trust recently matched 20 percent of costs for four companies that won federal grants to develop wave energy projects or technology in Oregon. OWET also funded four feasibility studies for future wave energy projects at $50,000 each.
Jason Busch, executive director of the Oregon Wave Energy Trust said all of the money went to companies with proven technology to help develop projects or make wave energy technology more efficient, longer lasting and cheaper.
All of the companies are "on the ground in Oregon, they are looking for places to do projects and they are sizing up where they want to do stuff," he said.
Most are running behind Ocean Power Technologies of Pennington, N. J., which is manufacturing the first 150 kilowatt PB150 PowerBuoy at Oregon Iron Works for a project off the coast of Reedsport. Busch said other companies' efforts, however, will mark the first significant mobilization of the wave energy industry in Oregon, where capacity and the ocean's nearness to the power grid invite lucrative future markets.
In total, OWET awarded $496,000, with $200,000 awarded to feasibility studies and $296,000 to match federal grants. Recipients of the federal money included two Oregon companies and two others with projects in Oregon. They were:
• M3 Wave Energy Systems LLC of Salem received $240,000 to evaluate the commercial viability of the company’s proprietary system for converting wave energy into power.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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