U.S. Department of Energy says it will provide up to $40 million for site off Newport, to be used by researchers and renewable energy companies
Oregon stands to get a major wave-energy test site six miles off the coast of Newport, after the U.S. Department of Energy announced an award of up to $40 million for the project on Wednesday.
Supporters hailed it as the nation's first open-ocean wave-energy test facility that's connected to the power grid.
Researchers at Oregon State University will collaborate with their peers from the University of Washington and University of Alaska Fairbanks, along with innovators in wave energy.
Funding will allow the universities to build open-water test berths and undersea cables, which private companies would then use to test their wave and tidal current energy innovations. Companies testing their designs at the site will not have to undergo separate permitting and installation processes – lowering the cost and speeding up the process for developing new wave energy technologies.
"This test facility will make Oregon the leader in bringing wave energy to the United States, which will create good-paying local jobs, and strengthen our coastal economies," said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, in a release announcing the deal.
"This is great news for OSU and its partners and will launch a new level of local job creation and clean energy innovation," Senator Ron Wyden, D-Portland, stated in the joint release.
The Department of Energy has calculated that waves and tidal currents have the potential to deliver up to one-third of the nation's electrical needs.
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