In a move that will further establish Oregon as a leader in alternative energy development, the Department of Energy has awarded a $4 million grant to create a world class, grid-connected ocean energy test facility off the Oregon Coast.
The grant announced today by Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Congressman Kurt Schrader was awarded to the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), one of three DOE-sponsored ocean energy centers in the country. The center is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Washington (UW). The grant requires $4 million in matching funds.
"This grant, which will help establish a new ocean energy test facility in the Pacific Northwest, cements the role of Oregon State University and the State of Oregon in the forefront on wave energy research," Wyden said. "Oregon is well on its way to having world-class, off-shore testing facilities sought after by wave energy development companies from around the world."
"OSU is at the cutting edge in testing a new generation of clean energy," Merkley said. "I'm thrilled that this grant will allow OSU to continue leading the way on wave energy."
"Oregon has always been considered to be ahead of the curve in renewable energy innovation," Schrader said. "The expansion of Oregon State University's wave energy technology research furthers our tradition of blazing the trail to a secure energy future. Moving forward, the public and private partnerships that were essential in securing this funding will continue to play integral roles in gaining federal assistance for other projects. I look forward to working with our universities, businesses and communities to do what we can to make sure this tradition is carried on."
"This award is testimony to the strong leadership that Dr. Belinda Batten and her team at NNMREC have provided, and demonstrates the important global impact of research performed at OSU and UW," said Dr. Rick Spinrad, Vice President for Research at Oregon State University."
The testing area would be a kind of "off-shore" laboratory where wave energy devices would be essentially "plugged in" to the on-shore electrical grid to test their capabilities. The project is in response to the industry, developers and policy-makers who have said that a full-scale, grid connected ocean test facility is needed to achieve industry commercialization and fully reap the benefits of clean, renewable wave energy resource.
Industry benefits of the Pacific Marine Energy Center include:
A centralized location to conduct technological and environmental testing;
Unified industry and academia to maximize financial support from public sector;
Focused funding for infrastructure across several proposed wave energy technologies;
Accelerated information gathering, technology design and, environmental impact analysis;
Standardized testing metrics for technology performance evaluation;
An economical means of deploying and testing prototypes in the ocean environment;
Limited potential conflicts among competing uses for multiple ocean energy test sites;
Increased efficiency and effectiveness of public funding by focusing on one, full-service facility;
A training ground for future jobs in the ocean energy industry.