The U.S. Department of Energy made $27 million available on July 6 for wave energy research and development projects at the PacWave South test facility off the Oregon coast.

Funding includes up to $15 million to research wave energy converter technologies for remote and microgrid use and up to $5 million to study converter designs. In addition, up to $7 million is available for research projects covering advanced converter systems, components, environmental monitoring, instrumentation and wave measurement.

Concept papers are due Aug. 13 and full applications are due by Oct. 5, DOE said.

The 20 MW, $80 million PacWave project is under construction 7 miles southwest of Newport, Ore., and is expected to go live by 2023. It will be the nation's first accredited, grid-connected, pre-permitted U.S. open water wave-energy test facility.

Meanwhile, FERC on June 17 tweaked the license it issued March 1 to PacWave South, setting the annual fee for its use of federal lands to be a nominal $25, rather than the original unspecified fee that could potentially be large and burdensome to address [P-14616-002].

The fee, imposed for the use of 2,381 acres of the outer continental shelf (OCS) as required by the Federal Power Act, is meant to recompense the government "for the use, occupancy, and enjoyment of [federal] lands," FERC said in the license.

The modification of the fee was prompted by PacWave developer Oregon State University, which said in a request for rehearing that neither FERC nor the FPA "provide an amount or methodology to assess the federal lands charge for a test facility of this kind located on the OCS," which meant it was "faced with having to commence construction under the license without knowing whether this cost will be prohibitive."

OSU also pointed out that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which granted a lease for the project's outer continental shelf portion, did not charge a fee because that option is allowed on lands used to conduct research activities.

FERC's June 17 decision on the rehearing request noted that while the Federal Power Act provides no exemptions to the fee, it does specify a minimum amount of $25.

"[W]e are persuaded by OSU's argument and BOEM's comment suggesting that we assess only a nominal federal lands charge for the PacWave South Project," the decision said, citing the facility's R&D purpose, OSU's nonprofit status and BOEM's election to not impose a fee as the basis for adopting a nominal $25 annual fee.

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News Editor - Clearing Up

Rick Adair has been with NewsData since 2003, and is news editor for Clearing Up and editor for Water Power West. Previously, he covered environmental and energy issues in the Lake Tahoe area. He has a doctorate in earth sciences.