Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

City announces plans for Portland summer-league baseball team

News
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
IMG 3888BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.


Read more...

Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills

News
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
eventthumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.


Read more...

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


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