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


Researchers mapping Oregon coast floor for Green Power Sites August 18, 2009

A survey of the ocean floor off the Oregon coast is getting under way to provide detailed undersea maps that will help protect marine habitat.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oregon State University will study water depths, seek out navigational hazards and monitor the natural features of coastal seabeds and aquatic life.

The mapping is critical to scientists trying to better understand the coastal environment along with commercial fishermen and government agencies who need more information for important decisions about siting marine reserves and wave energy buoys.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski said the two-year project is part of a plan he approved with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington to map the Pacific Ocean off all three states by 2020.

“With the data collected from these surveys, we can model tsunamis, identify marine habitats, select alternative energy sites, identify geological hazards and enhance safe and efficient marine transportation,” Kulongoski said.

The maps will cover about a third of state waters and three-quarters of its rocky reefs, recording every shape in the ocean between 10 meters deep and three miles from shore, where Oregon-owned waters meet federal ocean territory. The federal government plans to use the data from the surveys to update nautical charts now based on depth information acquired before 1939.

“Updated nautical charts will also make ocean shipping and recreational boating along Oregon’s coasts much safer,” said John Dunnigan, assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

Chris Goldfinger, an OSU associate professor of oceanic and atmospheric sciences, said the survey will include sites important for tsunami modeling, wave energy and marine reserves proposed at Cape Falcon, south of Cannon Beach; Cascade Head, near Lincoln City; and Cape Perpetua, near Yachats.

Support for the project was led by coastal legislators, including state Rep. Deborah Boone, D-Cannon Beach.

“They say that the third time is the charm and this was our third attempt to pass legislation to enable Oregon State University ocean scientists to finish the task of mapping the sea floor,” Boone said.

The two-year project is funded by a $5 million grant from NOAA and $1.3 million in state money.

Tri-City Herald –


Wave Power Coming on Slow Rollers April 21, 2009

Two years ago, there was a “gold rush” on the ocean to stake claims for wave energy. Now the spray is settling. As it clears, fewer heads remain above water. Energy developers have given up on about a quarter of the wave projects they proposed along the West Coast. Some tidal power proposals are ebbing away as well. The slow arrival of this new source of renewable energy is just fine with some coastal residents who still harbor doubts about the technology. We get more on the story from KPLU’s Tom Banse.

For more information:
Congressional letter – March 2009 Congressional letter requesting $250 million of DOE stimulus funds be set aside for marine renewable power technology R&D. Signers include Jay Inslee (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), and David Wu (D-OR)

West Coast wave energy projects proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ( listed from north to south (filing date):

P-12751 Makah Bay (Finavera) application to surrender license filed 2/09

P-13058 Grays Harbor Ocean Energy (Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, LLC) 11/2007

P-13047 Oregon Coastal Wave Energy (Tillamook Intergovernmental Dev. Entity) 10/2007

P-12750 Newport OPT Wave Park (Ocean Power Technologies) permit surrendered 3/09

P-12793 Florence Oregon Ocean Wave Project (Oceanlinx) 4/2007, withdrawn 4/08

P-12713 Reedsport OPT Wave Park (Ocean Power Technologies) 3/2006

P-12743 Douglas County Wave Energy (Douglas County, OR) 9/2006 (oscillating column device on Umpqua River jetty)

P-12749 Coos Bay OPT Wave Park (Ocean Power Technologies) 3/2006

P-12752 Coos County Offshore (Bandon, Oregon) (Finavera) permit cancelled w/o objection 6/08

P-12779 Humboldt County WaveConnect (PG&E) 2/07

P-12753 Humboldt County Wave Energy (Finavera) permit surrendered 2/09

P-13075 Centerville OPT Wave Park (Ocean Power Technologies) 11/2007

P-12781 Mendocino County WaveConnect (PG&E) 2/07

P-13053 Green Wave Mendocino Wave Park (Green Wave Energy Solutions, LLC) filed 10/07 pending

P-13377 and P-13378 Fort Ross Project- N & S (Sonoma County Water Agency) 2/09 pending

P-13376 Del Mar Landing Project (Sonoma County Water Agency) 2/09 pending

P-13308 San Francisco Ocean Energy Project (Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, LLC) 10/08 pending

P-13379 San Francisco Ocean Energy Project (City and County of SF) 2/09 pending

P-13052 Green Wave San Luis Obispo Wave Park (Green Wave Energy Solutions, LLC) filed 10/07 pending

P-13309 Ventura Ocean Energy Project (Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company, LLC) filed 10/08 pending

Total proposed wave energy projects since 2006: 21
Total projects scrubbed for any reason: 5