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Next Wave In Energy Planned Off Oregon Coast

Oregon is getting closer to building a big federally-funded wave energy facility and connecting it to the electrical grid.

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center is in charge of the project. It plans a utility-scale wave energy facility in either Newport or Reedsport.

The center’s director, Belinda Batten, says the waves and transmission lines are close together in those areas, which lowers cost and makes maintenance easier. She notes that groundwork has already been laid in both towns, too. A private company has been preparing to test wave buoys in Reedsport, and Oregon State University has already begun tests in Newport.

“Wave energy is not new to those communities,” Batten says. “And another thing that was a factor was expression of community support in moving forward as partners.”

Batten says her center should pick a site by the end of the year.

Batten says the roughly $25 million cost of the facility would likely be split evenly between the U.S. Department of Energy and funders in Oregon. She expects permitting and construction to take three years.