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

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
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

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


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...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


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...

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


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