Significant advances in university research and other studies in the past two years are pointing toward Oregon as the possible epicenter of wave energy development in the United States.
This may lead to a major initiative to expand a technology that is now in its engineering infancy, and tap the constant heave of the oceans for a new era of clean, affordable and renewable electrical power. Electrical engineers at Oregon State University have pioneered the development of technologies to take advantage of wave power in ways that are reliable, maintainable and able to survive a hostile ocean environment. The OSU College of Engineering also has a host of other facilities that would make it an ideal site for more advanced research. Last fall, the Electric Power Research Institute finished a study which concluded that a site off Reedsport, Ore., would be the optimal location in the entire nation to develop a wave energy test and demonstration facility.
And on Wednesday, EPRI and the Oregon Department of Energy will meet in Portland, Ore., to bring together potential partners in this field to explore the future of wave energy development in the U.S. At that meeting, OSU officials will present their vision for a U.S. Ocean Energy Research and Demonstration Center based in Oregon, which they believe could move this promising technology from a laboratory concept to a major contributor to the nations energy needs. The center would evaluate existing wave energy systems and help create, test and implement new ones. "The worlds oceans are an extremely promising source of clean energy," said Annette von Jouanne, an OSU professor of electrical engineering. "The technology is still in experimental stages, but weve made enough progress in the past couple years that its time to start planning a working research and demonstration facility. And the new EPRI study indicates that a site off the central Oregon coast is probably the best place in the country to do that."
Annette von Jouanne | EurekAlert!
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