PORTLAND (AP) — Federal energy regulators have given Oregon State University initial approval for a groundbreaking wave energy testing facility off the coast.
The PacWave South project is designed to facilitate and accelerate the development of wave energy technology, which harnesses the motion of the ocean to generate electricity, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Oregon is considered to have a high potential for wave energy generation – higher by coastal area than Washington or California.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a license to the project on Monday, but another review period must pass before OSU gets final approval.
“It’s huge. It’s the first license of its type to be issued in the United States,” said OSU’s Burke Hales, chief scientist on the project.
Oregon State’s project would offer a pre-permitted area offshore of Newport, Oregon, where wave energy developers could anchor and plug in their devices to the grid.
The array would spread over about 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of ocean and include four testing “berths” with undersea cables to carry energy produced back to shore near Driftwood Beach State Recreation Site. The energy developers would pay Oregon State University for use of the testing facility.
“We hope to be moving this summer with groundbreaking for building our shoreside facility,” Burke said, adding that the underground and under-ocean boring work needed to run the transmission lines offshore would start this year as well.
The goal is to install the offshore components of the test facility in 2022.