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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
Page 3 of 5
Despite years of planning for wave energy, and an optimistic pronouncement the plan could be done this spring, it will be another 12 to 18 months before Oregon offers permits for ocean energy development. Maybe longer.
Busch is critical of the process, even though it has nearly $400,000 in OWET funding behind it. He is particularly bothered that public meetings will not include the wave-energy industry, focusing instead on high- value fishing, traditional users and ecological health.
“It’s becoming increasingly open-ended. And that is unacceptable from the industry standpoint. If people think that we can just process this for two years and still get the benefits that we set out to get… we will not succeed,” he says. “We cannot have an interminable process and expect to attract jobs to this state. It just won’t happen.”
Aquamarine Power is free to apply for temporary permits for testing. But the company can lay no permanent claim to sites that test successfully and will lose the money spent testing if those sites aren’t on agreeable portions of the state’s map when it's released.
As the industry increasingly views Aquamarine Power as the canary in the coal mine, the future looks like less of a sure thing than industry leaders once envisioned for Oregon.
So far, those companies have seen extensive support from OWET, which heavily recruited some to the state. OWET has also provided environmental and development research, as well as policy support and $496,000 in state grants to propel wave-energy projects closer to Oregon’s ocean.
It isn’t just these freebies that entice developers here. The state’s swath of sea has some of the best wave-development potential on the globe, owing to the force of the waves and the topography of the seafloor. That the coastline is also cradled by power lines that once served the timber industry adds attraction. Much onshore infrastructure is still needed to support ocean energy, but millions of dollars in transmission costs can be avoided by companies that tap what exists.
Including Aquamarine Power, nine companies are actively pursuing that goal. The list includes companies testing fledgling technologies in water tanks and in laboratories, ranging from Seattle-based Principal Power’s deep-water windmills to California-based Shift Power Solutions' Lego-like power modules, 36-by-36 inch blocks that can be built in infinite arrays near shore.
Companies in Oregon also include players with fully developed technologies such as Columbia Power Technologies, the Corvallis company that announced successful deployment of its first test buoy in Puget Sound March 8, and Ocean Power Technologies, a public company headquartered in the United Kingdom. It was OPT’s early advance on Oregon that galvanized the state’s planning process, so OPT will be grandfathered into the zoning maps when its first buoy hits the water near Reedsport this summer, following delays.
Other companies will have to wait. “We need to have a process they can look at and say, ‘This is what you’re going to have to do to get into our waters here,’” says Rep. Deborah Boone (D-Cannon Beach). She isn’t yet convinced the state is making things harder on the ocean energy industry, given that a process is in place to clarify a track. While that process remains uncertain, Boone says, “I do understand the businesses' frustration with that because they’re going to have a hard time getting financing.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
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.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN
Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
How conservation stimulates the local economy.
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