Wave energy’s message to critics: You’re wrong

| Print |  Email
Saturday, November 01, 2008

WaveEnergyBuoy0607

THE COAST On a windless morning this past September, Oregon State University researchers towed a prototype wave energy buoy off the coast of Newport and dropped anchor. The device looked like a flattened yellow doughnut, 10 feet in diameter, with a phone pole sticking up through the hole, six feet high. With each swell, the pole bobbed up and down, generating an electric current that was monitored by scientists hunched over computers. The hours passed, the buoy bobbed up and down, while a light on top of the pole blinked a gentle staccato that could have been code for, “You were wrong. You were wrong. ”

Critics  — including a certain statewide business magazine — have predicted a downturn in wave energy projects because of the credit crisis. There’s no doubt that the implosion of the banking industry and stock markets is affecting the growth of new projects. Funding for experimental energy projects has all but disappeared, according to Edward Einowski, a partner at Stoel Rives who specializes in the finance and development of renewable energy projects.

But this summer the U.S. Department of Energy gave OSU the final piece of the $13.5 million needed to build what will be called the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center in Newport. In September, 70 miles to the north, Tillamook County officials applied for federal permits to develop six potential wave energy sites. And OSU researchers published a study that for the first time verifies some of the impacts of wave energy projects on waves, fish and the shoreline.

As Hatfield Marine Science Center director George Boehlert put it: Up to this point, wave energy technology has been ahead of ecological research. The study doesn’t show an inherently positive or negative impact of wave energy projects. Instead, the research will allow the state, the energy industry and the fishing industry — which is deeply concerned about projects’ impact on fishing grounds — to develop guidelines for future potential projects.

As for the prototype buoy, it was towed to shore after the successful 24-hour test, its little light blinking all the way home.    

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


Read more...

Intrepid reporter checks out ZoomCare rebrand

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
dentistthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes. 


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS