Oregon Senate waves in ocean energy rules

The Oregon Senate measure would require wave energy companies to prove they're accountable for equipment removal and other matters if projects go awry.
Wave Energy Trust photo

The Oregon Senate measure would require wave energy companies to prove they're accountable for equipment removal and other matters if projects go awry.

A measure that would require wave energy companies to give Oregon's coastal communities more assurances about their operations has sailed through Oregon's Senate.

An amended version of Senate Bill 606 requires owners and operators of wave energy facilities to assure cities that they'll provide wherewithal for potential removal of wave energy devices located in Oregon’s Territorial Sea, which stretches three miles off the state's coast.

Wave energy facility owners must provide decommissioning and finance plans, as well as make other provisions that "ensure that ocean energy will be developed and decommissioned responsibly, while avoiding unnecessary burdens and costs for local governments."

The measure also calls for the Oregon Department of Energy to study electricity transmission from wave energy facilities to ensure the installations efficiently provide power to communities.

The initiative arrives after Ocean Power Technologies acknowledged its wave energy park off Reedsport will be delayed.

Wave industry supporters praised the measure.

“This is an excellent bill that is the result of hard work between all of the stakeholders,” said Jason Busch, the Oregon Wave Energy Trust's executive director, in a statement.

Sen. Arnie Roblan, a Democrat from Coos Bay, said the effort would simply provide more structure for new energy infrastructure along the coast.

"Wave energy technology has the potential to provide new opportunities and good-paying jobs to the coast, but it is critically important that we have a standard process to deal with contingencies," Roblan said in a release from the Senate Democrats' office.

The bill now goes to the Oregon House.

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