Waiting for wave energy

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The wide range of technologies possible in ocean energy has added to the social pressure to plan for its arrival. Coastal leaders have welcomed the industry for its economic potential, but with caution, recognizing it could have negative consequences for commercial fishermen, shrimpers, charter operators, and recreational sports and fishing if planned poorly.

 

0511_WaveEnergy_05
Model of buoy from Oregon Iron Works
“It’s kind of like a gold rush that’s going on in the ocean right now. Everyone is interested in ocean energy and we wanted to have a say in what was happening,” says Tillamook County Commissioner Mark Labhart, who believes the planning process is critical to giving residents, recreational users and industries like fishing a voice in how ocean energy fits in.

Busch and others, however, argue Oregon has limited time to capitalize on wave-energy development and that the time to hit the water is now.

“The key is to become the locus of ocean wave power in the United States,” he says, and export talent, materials and technology for the next 50 years. “Do we really want to say 'no' to that because of potential impacts about which we’re doing our very darnedest to learn?” The ocean is a big place, he says, and there must be ways for companies to hit the water as planning continues.

One look to Ontario, Canada, where a sudden moratorium on offshore wind power caused companies to flee, and the root of Busch’s fear is laid bare. Like most businesses, ocean power companies flock to opportunity, not to places to wait. Busch worries that a year or more of inaction in Oregon could similarly reverse OWET’s progress.

Theresa Wisner, Oregon community outreach coordinator for Aquamarine Power in Newport, says waiting is a tough sell to investors. “We completely understand the need for spatial planning on the ocean. It will help us considerably in the long run by allowing us to focus in on places that we should go.” But she adds, “We cannot wait indefinitely for that. Aquamarine has put a significant investment here in the state to see this move forward.” She says she is currently negotiating with state officials on solutions.

 



 

More Articles

Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Read more...

Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Read more...

Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


Read more...

Flattery with Numbers

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The false promise of economic impact statements.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Monday, August 03, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


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