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Is There A Future For Wave Energy In Oregon?

OPB | April 11, 2014 12:30 p.m. | Updated: April 11, 2014 2:01 p.m.

Credit: Danielle Henry / Creative Commons

Credit: Danielle Henry / Creative Commons

Last week, Ocean Power Technologies abandoned its efforts to establish Oregon’s first commercial wave energy project off the coast of Reedsport. Though wave power has been piloted in Scotland and Spain, there hasn’t yet been a commercial project anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.

Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) is a public-private partnership funded by Oregon lottery dollars that tries to reduce barriers for companies interested in bringing wave energy to Oregon. Jason Busch is the executive director of OWET. He says that the technology is challenging to perfect, and securing investors is a perpetual difficulty for wave energy companies. But he adds that the regulatory barriers are potentially the biggest issue in the U.S. In order for wave energy companies to get permits to operate off-shore, they have to go through the same regulatory framework established by years of litigation involving oil and gas companies, which usually pose greater environmental and human risks.

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