Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

Regulators seek comments on Ore. wave energy project February 13, 2010

Filed under: Legal/Courts,Oregon,Renewable Energy Projects,Wave/Tidal Power — nwrenewablenews @ 8:57 pm
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Now’s your chance to learn more about a proposed wave energy project off Gardiner and comment about it to federal regulators.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has received a water permit application from the developers and the agency has opened a 30-day comment period. The deadline is March 10.

Reedsport OPT Wave Park has proposed constructing a 10-buoy array, with an underwater substation pod and transmission cable. Each buoy will have a 36-foot diameter, placed about 330 feet apart. They all would have about 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid, but spills are unlikely because of a double containment system.

OPT also will have a spill control and counter measure response plan.

Comments can be mailed to Merina Christoffersen, 1600 Executive Parkway, Suite 210, Eugene, OR, 97401-2156; e-mailed to, or faxed to (503) 229-6957.

The Army Corps will use comments to determine whether to hold a public hearing as well as whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit.

For more information, call (503) 229-6030 or toll free within Oregon at (800) 452-4011. A video demonstration of the project is available at the OPT Web site,

The World –


Ocean Power Technologies Executes Memorandum of Understanding with State of Oregon December 11, 2009

Filed under: Oregon,Renewable Energy Projects,Wave/Tidal Power — nwrenewablenews @ 3:53 pm
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Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTT and London Stock Exchange AIM: OPT) (“OPT” or the “Company”) announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”, or “Agreement”) with the State of Oregon. The purpose of the MOU is to set forth an approach for developing wave power projects within the coastal waters of Oregon.

The Agreement outlines important principles for the potential development of future wave power facilities in Oregon. These principles will be first applied to the development of OPT’s Coos Bay Project in Oregon. Under a Preliminary Permit, which OPT has received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) the Company is studying the feasibility of building an OPT Wave Power Station near Coos Bay, in phases up to 100 MW. The project is in the initial stages of public and agency review.

Under the Agreement, OPT will participate in a settlement and adaptive management process for the Coos Bay Project in accordance with Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan. In that process, OPT will consult with various project stakeholders at the Federal, State, county and local levels, and commit to responsible development in Oregon’s renewable energy resources. The State will work as a partner with OPT to encourage the development of renewable energy by identifying the best locations for future wave power facilities.

Commenting on the MOU, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski stated: “I believe that the Agreement between Oregon and OPT provides a foundation for moving forward in a manner that is respectful of existing ocean uses and values, while helping Oregon transition to an independent renewable energy future. In particular, I welcome OPT as the first commercial developer of wave power stations in Oregon. OPT is investing substantial resources in Oregon and providing expertise to help Oregon achieve its desired goal of becoming a world leader in responsible commercial development of wave energy. The major portion of its wave power stations will be manufactured in Oregon, creating important “green” jobs in this exciting new industry.”

OPT is building its first US commercial scale wave power station off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon. The expected 1.5 MW project will be developed in two phases. The first phase will install a single PowerBuoy, which is in construction, plus underwater electrical infrastructure. The second phase will install up to another nine PowerBuoys and then connect them to the onshore power grid.

“Building the Phase 1 PowerBuoy with Oregon workers will provide immediate jobs in steel fabrication at Oregon Iron Works (“OIW”) in addition to leading to additional jobs in coastal communities, such as for assembly, installation, moorings and recurring maintenance of the wave power station over the many years of its operation. The initial fabrication and machining will create or sustain direct jobs for over 30 people at OIW as well as numerous other jobs for subcontractors and vendors”, said Dr. George W. Taylor, Executive Chairman of OPT.

Dr. Taylor continued, “Building and deploying the additional PowerBuoys for a total capacity of 1.5 MW in Phase 2 is estimated to employ over 150 people. When we take account of the totality of wave power developments that OPT is contemplating in the western states, including Reedsport and Coos Bay in Oregon, literally thousands of jobs could eventually be created or sustained.”

Governor Kulongoski demonstrated his commitment to building community and stakeholder understanding and support for the Reedsport wave energy facility by designating it as an “Oregon Solutions” project. This has streamlined the permitting and collaboration among the federal, state, county and local stakeholders. OPT has obtained funding for the project from the US Department of Energy and PNGC Power, a regional generation and transmission public electric power cooperative. These funds are expected to be supplemented by federal tax credits, and by State of Oregon Business Energy Tax Credits, plus additional investment from OPT and Oregon-based companies. PNGC Power has signed an agreement with OPT to assist in development of the Reedsport project, and may purchase some of the electricity generated in Phase 2 of the project.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain “forward-looking statements” that are within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect the Company’s current expectations about its future plans and performance, including statements concerning the impact of marketing strategies, new product introductions and innovation, deliveries of product, sales, earnings and margins. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates which could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could vary materially from those anticipated or expressed in any forward-looking statement made by the Company. Please refer to the Company’s most recent Form 10-K for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties. The Company disclaims any obligation or intent to update the forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.

About Ocean Power Technologies

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTT and London Stock Exchange AIM: OPT) is a pioneer in wave-energy technology that harnesses ocean wave resources to generate reliable, clean and environmentally-beneficial electricity. OPT has a strong track record in the advancement of wave energy and participates in a $150 billion annual power generation equipment market. The Company’s proprietary PowerBuoy ® system is based on modular, ocean-going buoys that capture and convert predictable wave energy into low-cost, clean electricity. The Company is widely recognized as a leading developer of on-grid and autonomous wave-energy generation systems, benefiting from over a decade of in-ocean experience. OPT’s technology and systems are insured by Lloyds Underwriters of London. OPT is headquartered in Pennington, New Jersey with offices in Warwick, UK. More information can be found at

dBusinessNews –


Oregon firm to build first wave energy buoy in Reedsport

Filed under: Oregon,Renewable Energy Projects,Wave/Tidal Power — nwrenewablenews @ 3:48 pm

A Clackamas company has been selected to build the first of 10 proposed ocean buoys planned for use in a wave energy project off the coast of Reedsport.

The electricity-generating system is being developed by Ocean Power Technologies, a New Jersey company that announced Friday it has selected Oregon Iron Works of Clackamas to begin construction of the first commercial wave energy PowerBuoy project in North America.

OPT said the partnership is the direct result of Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s leadership in bringing green jobs and renewable energy to Oregon and his commitment to seeing wave action employed as a commercially viable renewable energy resource.

The initial buoy would be used in the first phase of the project, with nine additional PowerBuoys added in the second phase over the next two to three years. Each of the buoys will have a 35-foot diameter and stand 145 feet tall. A majority of the buoy’s height would remain submerged in the water, with only about 30 feet visible above the surface.

The body of the buoy will be a metal column that remains stationary with a moving steel ring around it. As waves connect with the buoy, the ring will move up and down the tethered column, generating energy.

A transformer on the ocean floor will convert the energy and send it through a cable along the bottom of the ocean to the shore. The electricity will then connect to a grid and be purchased by utility groups that will distribute it to its customers.

OPT estimates the pilot project will deliver about 4,140 megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid each year — enough to power at least 375 homes — and has the potential to expand in the future. In addition, the electricity generated by the clean, renewable system will displace 2,110 tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to OPT.

The company estimates that 30 jobs will be created over the next nine months as the buoy is constructed.

Gov. Kulongoski was in Clackamas on Friday for the announcement of the selection of Oregon Iron Works.

“The partnership that we are developing with OPT and other Oregon companies fits perfectly with our goal of providing jobs for Oregon’s green economy,” Kulongoski said, according to a news release.

Mark Draper, chief executive officer of OPT, said the Oregon coast has been identified as one of the world’s top sources for future wave energy development.

“We are committed to responsible development of renewable energy resources, and look forward to playing our part in that positive future,” he said.

Another Oregon company, Sause Bros. of Coos Bay, will be used to transport and deploy the buoy by barge. PNGC Power, a regional public electric cooperative, may purchase some of the electricity generated to supply Northwest customers. The company has provided some of the funding for the project, along with the federal Department of Energy, federal and state tax credits, and investment by OPT and other firms.

OPT estimates 150 jobs overall will be created or sustained during the fabrication, assembly, installation and maintenance of the Reedsport station.

The company is in the advanced stages of completing a similar project scheduled for deployment off the coast of Scotland next year.

Oregon Iron Works Chairman Terry Aarnio said his company’s workers are excited at the opportunity to participate in the Reedsport system.

“This project demonstrates that Oregon intends to enhance its environmental reputation by building an economy on the edge of the green wave,” he said.

The Reedsport wave power station would be placed about 2.5 miles off the coast and connect to the Bonneville Power Administration’s Gardiner substation.

The project is still in the approval process.

News Review –


Tidal turbines off Marrowstone proceed toward permits November 9, 2009

25563aPlans are moving ahead to place a trio of underwater, tide-powered turbines on the sea floor one-third of a mile east of Marrowstone Island’s Nodule Point.

A briefing held Oct. 22 in Port Townsend for federal, state and local regulators revealed details of the pilot project, which is being managed by the U.S. Navy based on a direct multi-million-dollar appropriation inserted by a group of congressmen into the 2009 defense budget.

The trio of turbines, each resembling squat versions of Eastern Washington’s wind generators, would rise 36 feet up from the sea floor in 72 feet of water at a zero tide. The 4-ton turbines would be bolted to the three corners of a massive steel triangular platform that weighs some 40 tons.

Thanks to swift and consistent tidal ebbs and flows off east Marrowstone, the three uncovered blades on each unit would sweep through the seawater with a 16.4-foot diameter cycle at about 40 revolutions per minute – the tips moving 34 feet per second.

All three units are designed to swing 180 degrees when the tide shifts. The tidal current off Marrowstone is sufficient to power the turbines only for about six hours per day, according to reports.

Temporary project

The installation is designed to be a temporary pilot project to test the ability of the turbines to operate in a remote saltwater environment. The plan calls for the entire platform to be lifted from the sea floor within a year of installation. If permits and funding come through, the installation could happen over a three-week period in the early fall of 2011 or 2012.

Boaters would be warned away from the array by floating and lighted buoys that mark off a 1,300-foot by 1,300-foot surface area. Proponents say that in an existing experimental display of the underwater turbines in the East River off Manhattan in New York, fish tend to steer clear of the rotating turbines. However, an official said at the Oct. 22 briefing that it might be possible to brake the blades to a halt if marine mammals are detected in the area.

Power from the turbines would flow through a trio of cables to a junction box on the platform, and from there to a second junction box on the ocean floor about 140 feet beyond. From there, the steel-jacketed, 2-inch-diameter trunk cable would reach shore through a unique horizontal borehole that bypasses tidal zones and coastal zone disturbances.

The project, called the Navy Puget Sound Hydrokinetic Project (NPS-KHPS), is being managed by the Navy, thanks to the congressional appropriation that has already approved $2.4 million for what could be a $14 million total over five years, according to the Navy’s Mike McCallister, who led the briefing on Oct. 22. The Navy intends to bring the power ashore to Naval Magazine Indian Island.

Horizontal drilling
The power cable could come to Indian Island after coming ashore at an east Marrowstone park, and then be carried by overhead wires to the naval base with the cooperation of Puget Sound Energy. Or the cable could snake underwater for some four miles around the southern end of Marrowstone to the southern end of Indian Island near Oak Bay Park and come ashore directly. While discussion has taken place about the PSE option, no decisions have been made.

A unique technology called “horizontal directional drilling” is expected to minimize environmental impacts of bringing the power cable ashore. A borehole is drilled from the land that bends downward and then moves horizontally below the beach until it punches through into saltwater 60 to 90 feet below the intertidal zone. A flexible PVC pipe is placed in the borehole, and later the power cable is pulled through the pipe.

An on-shore vault is the landward anchor for the cable. When the power gets to Indian Island, a small monitoring station tracks the power, monitors the underwater location and controls the turbines.

The NPS-KHPS tidal generator proposal is a pilot project to demonstrate the underwater tidal technology in a remote saltwater environment. It is still in the preapplication phase under the National Environmental Protection Act, with the Navy as the lead agency.

Stacie Hoskins of the Jefferson County Department of Community Development, who attended the Oct. 22 briefing, said the county has no direct oversight over the project, as no county permits are needed. However the state Department of Ecology (DOE) is involved and is charged with ensuring that the project complies with county shorelines laws before issuing state permits.

Rebekah Padgett, federal permit manager with DOE, said her review would take county code into account. Other state and federal officials are looking at possible impacts on marine life, she said. Other key agencies are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

By Scott Wilson,The Leader –


Public Forum to explore tidal energy issues in Wash. September 9, 2009

Filed under: Utility Companies,Washington,Wave/Tidal Power — nwrenewablenews @ 5:38 pm
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Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Labs at Sequim Bay will speak at the meeting of the Island County Marine Resources Committee at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Island County Commissioners’ hearing room, 6th and Main streets, Coupeville. The public is invited.

Speakers will be Dr. Andrea Copping and Simon Geerlofs.

Snohomish Public Utility District is preparing to test several tidal energy generators within the next two years in deep waters about half- mile offshore from Fort Casey.

Tidal and wave energy are known to be far more predictable than wind or solar power, officials agree. They might one day provide an important part of the Northwest’s portfolio of clean, renewable energy, bringing green jobs and economic development to Washington. But questions remain about the potential effects on marine mammals, salmon and fragile ecosystems.

The Pacific Northwest National Lab is engaged in research to avoid and mitigate environmental effects in Puget Sound and the outer coast. It is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratory system. The Marine Sciences Laboratory at Sequim Bay is the DOE’s only marine laboratory.

Whidbey Examiner


Wash. Energy lab will study producing hydrokenetic power September 5, 2009

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., will receive more than $6.8 million over three years to advance the production of energy from ocean waves and moving rivers.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Energy will pay for a project that examines the environmental impacts of marine and hydrokinetic power. Marine power includes power harnessed from the flux of ocean tides and waves, while hydrokinetic refers to power generated from flowing freshwater without dams.

The project will examine the risks that the power generation techniques pose for the environment and wildlife, conduct laboratory and field experiments to further investigate certain risks, and predict the long-term impact of full-scale energy installations.

Some of the issues include how fish and marine mammals are directly affected by water power devices, including induced electromagnetic fields, noise and blade strike. Researchers will examine whether producing these kinds of power could create “dead zones” by interfering with the ocean’s circulation and nutrient patterns.

Staff from PNNL’s offices in Seattle, Portland, Richland and Sequim, Wash., will work together on the project. The study will be done in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Pacific Energy Ventures, an Oregon renewable energy consulting firm, will take part in the project as well.

Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian –


Navy, Snohomish Co. PUD discuss tidal energy projects September 3, 2009

Local residents last week had their first opportunity to ask questions about two renewable-energy pilot projects planned for the waters of Admiralty Inlet.

Officials from the Snohomish County Public Utility District and the Navy discussed their plans to harness tidal energy off Whidbey and Marrowstone islands at an event hosted by the Island County Economic Development Council, the Island County Marine Resources Committee and Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton.

The two projects have very different goals.

The Navy’s purpose is to comply with a renewable-energy mandate from Congress with a research project that will end with the removal of the underwater turbines after one year. Snohomish PUD is hoping its exploration of the potential of tidal energy in Admiralty Inlet will lead to a long-term – and lucrative – power-generation project.

“These are the ‘Kitty Hawk’ days of tidal energy,” said Craig Collar, the PUD’s senior energy resource development manager.

The PUD is studying how well the turbines perform, the economic feasibility of tidal power and how the turbines might affect the marine environment.

Snohomish PUD plans to install two turbines made by Ireland-based OpenHydro about 220 feet below the surface about a half-mile southwest of Admiralty Head. At peak performance, each unit is expected to produce about 600 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power about 500 homes.

Collar said the OpenHydro turbine is considered one of the most environmentally friendly designs on the market, as it is lubricated with salt water rather than a petroleum-based product, has a closed-fin design that prevents marine life from being harmed by spinning blades, and at 400 tons, the turbine’s weight anchors it to the sea floor, so no underwater drilling would be required.

“They are designed to be completely removable,” he said.

Island County Commissioner Angie Homola asked Collar how many turbines would be needed to match the approximately 100 megawatts produced by their Henry Jackson Dam facility in Snohomish County’s Sultan River basin.

Collar said the current tidal-energy project involves just two OpenHydro turbines. The PUD would need to install between 150 and 200 turbines to produce the same amount of power generated by the dam, he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Collar said that even if the pilot project yields promising results, he doubted the PUD would install any more than 100 turbines in Admiralty Inlet. And if it did, it would be done gradually, in phases, with the first batch of about 20 turbines installed no sooner than 2019.

“This could never be done any way but incrementally,” he said.

Howard Garrett, president of Orca Network, asked the presenters how much underwater noise the turbines would generate and whether a large number of turbines could slow tidal flow.

Scientists at the University of Washington’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center are trying to answer some of those questions.

Brian Polagye, a tidal expert and research assistant professor, said that while the impact of just a few machines would be unnoticeable, models have suggested that 100 machines could slow tidal flow by up to 1 percent.

“That’s measurable, but it’s not clear what the effects will be,” he said.

Another unidentified questioner asked what kind of land-based infrastructure would be needed to support the turbines. Collar said there wouldn’t be much as far as the pilot project is concerned, but if a major build-out takes place, the story might be different. He did not offer specifics.

As for the Navy’s plans, Brian Cable, a mechanical engineer at Naval Facilities Engineering Command, said Navy officials have focused their attention on two locations just off the east shore of Marrowstone Island.

Congress provided $5.6 million for the Navy research project. Research gathered could yield information about tidal energy that could eventually allow some bases to generate their own power.

“Energy independence on a Navy base is a security factor that is important,” Cable said.

The Navy will also be installing a different type of turbine than the OpenHydro design. Instead, they will be using turbines built by U.S. based Verdant Power. Closely resembling wind turbines, Verdant Power’s design uses a tri-frame platform. Like the OpenHydro model, it uses weight to anchor it to the sea floor.

The Navy plans to install two platforms and a total of six turbines that will power one building and the lights in a parking lot at the Navy’s ammunition depot on Indian Island, which is just southeast of Port Townsend. Each turbine supplies up 40 kilowatts of electricity.

Before either pilot project can move forward, the agencies need to complete an extensive permitting process.

The Navy must adhere to the requirements outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act, while Snohomish PUD must obtain federal, state and local permits. Both agencies hope to have their projects under way by 2011.

Justin Burnett, Whidbey Examiner