WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Major sea wave energy development company scaling back operations off Oregon Coast?


Aquamarine’s latest wave energy generator

November 4: See Update below

Scotland-based Aquamarine Company has issued a news release that may signal that push is coming to shove as Oregon continues its investigations into how many offshore ocean wave energy devices it may allow to be placed out there, where and under what conditions. In a letter to the news media, local outreach coordinator for Aquamarine Theresa Wisner said her company’s efforts to set up a wave energy testing site have been slowed by the state’s pursuit of it’s Territorial Sea Plan. Those conducting that plan have been taking considerable public testimony on wave energy potential off the Oregon Coast, some of it somewhat critical of the wave energy industry as it might complicate human access to recreation activities, wildlife habitat and whale migration issues. Testimony has also been recorded by those who are anxious to realize the local economic development potential of the emerging international wave energy industry.

In her letter, Wisner said, “In order to allow (Oregon’s) Territorial Sea Plan to conclude its work before Aquamarine Power continues its site selection process in Oregon, the company will be reducing activities in the State for the near future.” Wisner goes on to say that Aquamarine will still be maintaining its interest in Oregon as their own Aquamarine Sea Plan process continues.

Update: Oregon Coastal Zone Management Agency’s Onno Husing said that he notes that Aquamarine has been clear that they are still interested in pursuing their investigation of suitable wave energy sites. He said Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan is in the home stretch of being completed. He said the planning process has been fairly lengthy but that it’s important to do a thorough job of assessing ocean resources along the Oregon Coast so that when financial investments are made that they’re made with the best knowledge of regulatory conditions that exist, or may exist in the near future. Husing said he expects Aquamarine to continue to be a significant participant in Oregon’s emerging wave energy research and production industry.

In a recent post to Aquamarine’s website, the company announced the receipt of grants from the state to ascertain wave energy potential along the Oregon Coast:

We are currently exploring the potential to site a small number of Oyster wave energy devices off the west coast of the USA.

Our US team is based in Newport, Oregon. Our team has been reaching out to local communities along the west coast, along with other key stakeholders and state agencies, to seek views on suitable locations to site a small number of Oyster wave energy devices. We have been particularly focusing our research on Oregon because of its extensive wave resource.

In August 2011 we were awarded a $100,000 matching grant by the Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) to gather data on the wave energy potential of the sea along Oregon’s coast.

The grant is for Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) installation. The ADCPs will measure the wave energy resource at a number of points along the Oregon coast. This is an essential first step in finding areas suitable for wave power projects.

Our goal is to find a potential location for the installation of a demonstration array of three Oyster wave energy devices which we aim to install by 2016. We will match OWET’s grant with $100,000 of our own funds.

This follows the award of a $50,000 matching feasibility grant to Aquamarine Power USA by OWET in November 2010.

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