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March 26, 2014

DOI Assesses Proposed Wave Energy Test Center Off the Shore of Oregon

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) is assessing whether there is competitive interest in wave energy research and development off the shore of Oregon where the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University proposes to site a hydrokinetic energy research site to test utility-scale wave energy devices. DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) initiated a 30-day public comment period on March 24, during which public comments on the proposal and public expressions of interest in the proposed lease area will be accepted. The feedback will enable BOEM to determine whether or not it is appropriate to issue a lease on a non-competitive basis.

The Energy Department-supported Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center proposes to use the proposed site as a place for developers to test utility-scale wave energy devices at four test locations, connected to the mainland electric grid via a subsea cable. The project is designed to support up to 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation from individual devices and small-scale arrays. The test site would be located about four nautical miles offshore Newport, Oregon, in water depths ranging from 180 to 230 feet. The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center is one of three national research centers supported by the Energy Department to facilitate environmentally responsible development of marine renewable energy technology. See the DOI press release.