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

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


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