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Wave Energy Plans Emerge

by Staff
The World, February 27, 2006

The concept of producing wave energy in the ocean near Gardiner is coming closer to reality.

According to Keith Tymchuk, president of the Port of Umpqua Board of Commissioners, the plan has changed since an August 2005, informational meeting held in Reedsport.

Engineers at Oregon State University first introduced the idea as a research project. Tymchuk said several different companies that are operating wave power plants in Europe now are interested in developing the idea to produce power commercially.

At the February meeting of the board, port commissioners voted to join Oregon Power Resources, a consortium of electricity stakeholders, currently being chaired by the Oregon Department of Energy. OSU is making a key contribution to this group. Others involved are Central Lincoln People's Utility District, Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland General Electric and the Oregon Department of State Lands.

Tymchuk said the consortium decided that local entities would secure permits and provide infrastructure for private companies to build the wave power plants. As a member of the consortium, the port will be a major participant in securing easements across property belonging to several entities. This would lay the groundwork for a power line to connect proposed wave power plants or a wave park to the PUD substation near Gardiner.

A major advantage of the Gardiner location for wave energy production is a conduit once used by International Paper for waste outflow that could carry a power line from the wave plants 10 miles out in the ocean to a shoreside connection. Easements are needed from IP and other property owners to run a line from the shore to the substation.

The project development team at OSU estimated the cost of the entire project at $10 million. Tymchuk said the new plan would cost local entities $1 million to $2 million and that PUD and other bodies are willing to help with funding.

"It's a powerful idea in industry right now to be funding research for green power," he said. "And from the state's perspective, we are looking at the new idea of permits for ocean use."

Wave Energy Plans Emerge
The World, February 27, 2006

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