Hydropower

Application Filed for First U.S. Commercial Wave Energy Project

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), known for its PowerBuoy wave energy device, filed an application for construction permission to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 50-megawatt (MW) wave power generation project in Oregon, the first request in the U.S. for such a power project on a utility-scale level.

As part of the initial program for the OPT Wave Park to be located at Reedsport, OR, the company expects to install its ocean-tested PowerBuoys approximately 2.5 miles off the coast at a depth of 50 meters initially generating a total of 2 MW. Approval for the full-scale 50 MW wave power plant will follow completion of the initial 2 MW program. “This application to FERC represents a major step in the development of OPT’s wave power projects in the U.S. for large-scale electricity generation,” said George Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of OPT. “When completed, this plant will provide renewable power into the grid supplying the West Coast of the U.S.” The company has already consulted key stakeholder groups about its plans and will continue to work closely with these groups over the initial stages of the project. According to the company, a key strength of the PowerBuoy system is its compact nature and low visual impact. OPT’s wave energy converter consists of a vertically oriented column or cylinder that absorbs the rising and falling motion of ocean waves to cause the buoy mechanics to move freely up and down. This movement in turn drives an electric generator that creates usable on-site power or power that can be cabled away to a nearby mainland location. OPT’s PowerBuoy technology was cited in recent U.S. Congressional hearings in support of increasing funding for ocean energy demonstration programs. U.S. Representative Inslee (D-Washington) proposed an amendment to the Deep Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) Act, which would increase the funding for ocean energy demonstration programs from $6 million to $20 million per year. The Congressman also specifically cited the technology being offered by OPT.