Department of Energy awards $25 million toward Oregon wave energy project partners

OREGON, USA — Partners testing wave energy technology at Oregon State University’s PacWave South facility off the Oregon Coast are receiving $25 million from the Department of Energy (DOE).

“We are excited about this,” said OSU professor Burke Hales, PacWave’s chief scientist.

Construction of the roughly $80 million facility seven miles off the coast of Newport began in June 2021, with plans to have it operational in 2023. It will be the first commercial-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States.

Hales said the DOE’s new financial award is a big deal.

“[It] represents an exciting new development in the pursuit of producing renewable energy from ocean waves,” he said. “[It’s] the bridge from conceptual or scaled-down designs to operational power production in the…open ocean. It also shows the agency’s long-term commitment to the completion and operation of the…facility.”

RELATED: Construction on first-of-its-kind wave energy test facility starts off Oregon Coast

Hales said wave energy is an appealing renewable source because unlike solar and wind power, waves do not stop.

“Keeps going and going and going,” Hales explained. “We like to think of this as the low interest, but guaranteed part of your retirement portfolio.”

Researchers and developers said PacWave’s advances will likely serve as a future example in the fight against climate change.

“We need to be proactive, we need to be problem solvers,” Hales said. “We can’t just describe the problem anymore, we have to work on solving it.”

According to an OSU news release, the funded projects will include wave energy converter designs in geographically remote areas and on small grids; and research and development related to environmental monitoring.

Portland State University received $4.5 million of the DOE award.

The University of Washington and six other groups are also recipients:

  • CalWave Power Technologies Inc. of Oakland
  • Columbia Power Technologies Inc. of Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Dehlsen Associates, LLC, of Santa Barbara
  • Oscilla Power Inc. of Seattle
  • Integral Consulting of Seattle
  • Littoral Power Systems, Inc., of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

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