Oregon has actively worked to become a national and international leader in wave energy. Since approximately 2005, stakeholders, state and federal agencies have been working to understand the impacts and the regulatory processes required for development of this industry in Oregon. To advance the efforts in the state, the Oregon Innovation Council recommended that the State Legislature designate wave energy as an emerging industry and invest $5.23 million in production incentives and investments. The Council estimated the investment in wave energy would provide 243 new jobs and generate more than $9 million in new labor income.
However, to fully maximize the potential future benefits, Oregon needed to ensure a thorough and timely planning and regulatory process. The Reedsport Wave Energy Project was designated as an Oregon Solutions project to provide a collaborative environment within which to clarify and define project-specific requirements.
The Reedsport Wave Energy Project was designated as an Oregon Solutions project by Governor Kulongoski in October 2006. The goal of the project was to define and ensure broad stakeholder involvement in the regulatory process for the Reedsport Wave Energy Project proposed by Reedsport OPT Wave Park, LLC (OPT). It was intended that an ancillary benefit this project would also be to provide valuable information for other wave energy projects along the Oregon Coast.
- The initial phase of the Oregon Solutions project outlined the desired timeline for project implementation. Subgroups were formed to define the associated regulatory and permitting processes required to support implementation.
- Project implementation was in 3 phases (the Oregon Solutions effort focused on defining the process for Phase 1 and Phase 2):
- Single buoy installation
- 14 buoy installation and landfall
- Full commercial build-out
- August, 2010: Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) signed agreements with 11 federal and state agencies and three non-governmental stakeholders to support the development of the next phase of the Reedsport Wave Energy Project – a 10-PowerBuoy, grid connected, wave energy station with a capacity of 1.5 MW. The agreement is a key step towards the granting of a license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), which would be the first such license to be issued for a commercial-scale wave power project in the U.S.