Coastal power project makes waves locally

Vancouver plant builds buoys that generate electricity

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Wave power developers planning a project off the Oregon Coast now have the nation's only federal permit to develop a commercial wave power park, and a Clackamas, Ore., based company with a manufacturing plant in Vancouver played a key role in moving the venture forward.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc., based in Pennington, N.J., said Monday it will be deploying the first buoy for testing sometime this year off Reedsport. Clackamas-based Oregon Iron Works built most of that buoy and did most of the construction work at its fabrication plant on the Columbia riverfront in Vancouver. The company has another manufacturing facility in Clackamas.

In Vancouver, Oregon Iron Works is now putting the finishing touches on its part of the buoy project and expects to ship the device soon for deployment, said Chandra Brown, vice president of business development and government relations for the company.

The company would like to do more of the same work for Ocean Power Technologies, Brown said, but that depends on whether Ocean Power moves ahead with building more buoys, as allowed under its federal permit.

Charles Dunleavy, chief executive officer of Ocean Power Technologies, said the company hopes to have the country's first commercial wave power park online within two or three years of securing full financing.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the permit last week.

The project will include 10 buoys covering about 30 acres anchored two-and-a-half miles off the coast. They will produce 1.5 megawatts -- enough to power about 1,000 homes. An undersea cable will carry the power to a site slated for the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Columbian staff writer Aaron Corvin contributed to this story.