Aquamarine Power leaves Oregon citing regulatory uncertainty
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Aquamarine Power has put the brakes on plans to deploy its wave energy technology — shown here deployed off the coast of Scotland — in Oregon.
Aquamarine Power, a Scottish wave energy company, closed its Newport office last week, saying a lack of certainty in the state was making it impossible to continue investing in Oregon — at least for now.
Aquamarine established a one-person office in Oregon last year with the intent of deploying its wave energy technology — a buoy that specializes in generating power in near-shore environments — off the Oregon Coast.
Last week the company informed its partners that it was closing its Newport office and consolidating U.S. operations out of California.
"We are at present unable to proceed until we are given some certainty over seabed leases pending compleition of the Territorial Sea Plan process," said Martin McAdam, Aquamarine's CEO, in a statement.
But while Aquamarine's exit may be viewed as a blow to Oregon's nascent wave energy industry, Jason Busch, executive director of the state-funded Oregon Wave Energy Trust, doesn't think the state has seen the last of Aquamarine Power.
"Oregon has great resources," Busch said.
Even so, he said that Aquamarine was being kept in limbo.
Of the wave energy companies active in Oregon, Busch said only two are at the stage of being ready to deploy buoys in the water. The first, Ocean Power Technologies, had the state approval of the first two phases of its wave energy project off the coast of Reedsport grandfathered in.
Aquamarine Power, on the other hand, got to Oregon after the state initiated the process — began in 2008 — of developing a Territorial Sea Plan that will set aside chunks of the state's coastal waters deemed most suitable for wave energy development.
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