FERC staff has recommended licensing a grid-connected test facility for wave-energy conversion devices that would be located off the Oregon coast.

The recommendation, made in an environmental assessment FERC issued April 23, accepted the plan submitted by Oregon State University in May 2019 for the PacWave South facility [P-14616], with some minor modifications and additional measures from staff (WPW No. 17 [15]).

The 1,695-acre test site would be about 7 miles west of Seal Rock, between Newport and Waldport on the Oregon coast, in water between 213 and 256 feet deep. It would be the first pre-permitted, full-scale, utility grid-connected wave-energy test site in the U.S.

Purposes of the PacWave South facility include testing operation of grid-connected devices; refining deployment, recovery, operations and maintenance procedures for devices; collecting interconnection and grid-synchronization data; gathering information about environmental, economic and socioeconomic effects; and generating hydroelectric power.

The project, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, is expected to generate an average of 70,000 to 175,000 MWh annually, depending on the number of devices deployed.

OSU's final application for the facility, submitted with the EA, seeks a 25-year original license authorizing construction and operation of the project, with an installed capacity not to exceed 20 MW.

Power generated from the wave-energy devices would be transmitted to Central Lincoln PUD in Lincoln County, Ore., using buried cables to a grid-connection point on the shore.

Among FERC staff's mandates in the EA is development of a horizontal directional drilling plan for burying portions of the facility's cables that is based on FERC criteria, including those addressing drilled crossings beneath wetlands.

Plans call for the $55 million project to enter operations by 2022

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.