Community forums scheduled to discuss wave energy in Oregon
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
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.
Three public forums will take place this month in communities along the Oregon Coast to discuss four possible locations for a wave energy testing facility.
The testing ground would include infrastructure to connect the facility to grid and would be developed by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University.
The testing site, to be called the Pacific Marine Energy Center, is still several years in the future. It would complement the testing system being developed by OSU near Newport.
The communities being considered for the Pacific Marine Energy Center, the development of which officials say will create jobs and economic opportunity, are Newport, Reedsport, Coos Bay and Camp Rilea near Warrenton, all of which have characteristics that could make them suitable for the project.
NNMREC is waiting to receive final approval this fall for $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, which will fund more detailed studies and design work. It also is working closely with the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, a key partner in development of the project.
“The purpose of these forums is to help people understand what we’re trying to do, and listen to their interests, questions and concerns,” said Kaety Hildenbrand, a marine fisheries extension leader with the Oregon Sea Grant program based at OSU, in a press release. “One part of our goal is simple. We want to find a good fit, a situation where most residents want this facility and feel positive about it.”
The wave energy industry in Oregon holds significant promise but has been held back by a statewide planning effort that is working to balance the needs of a nascent industry with those of commercial fishing and other marine interests.
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