Wave energy test site calls Newport home

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The first utility-scale grid-connected wave energy test site in the U.S. has found an official home.

The Pacific Marine Energy Center will be the nation's first utility-scale, grid-connected wave energy test facility. View the full-size image.(Credit: Oregon State University)

The Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) test site will be located in Newport, Oregon, taking up residence at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University.

Site selection was ultimately based on ocean characteristics, marine and on-shore cable routes, port and industry capabilities, impacts to existing ocean users, permitting challenges, stakeholder participation in the proposal process, and support of the local fishing communities.

The PMEC will test energy generation potential and the environmental impacts of wave energy devices at an ocean site about five miles from shore. Subsea cables will transmit energy from the wave energy devices to the local power grid, and data to scientists and engineers at on-shore facilities.

As part of the PMEC will be four "test berths" -- open spaces of water dedicated to testing individual devices or small arrays of devices -- each of which will be connected to the community's electrical grid and will collect data associated with environmental and human dimension impacts.

The Oregon Wave Energy Trust has helped create a wave energy development regulatory process that combines the needs of ocean stakeholders and the state, as well as addresses the Governor's 10-year energy plan, including how wave energy is integrated into Oregon's power grid while maintaining high environmental standards.

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