Wave Energy Presentation
Join the Midcoast Watersheds Council for an evening presentation about wave energy prospects off the coast of Oregon on Thursday, March 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. in Room 205 on the upper floor of the Newport Visual Arts Center (777 NW Beach Drive, Nye Beach). The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. A MidCoast Watersheds Council board meeting will follow the presentation.
The Oregon coast has highly energetic and persistent waves that last throughout the year. Additionally, Oregon offers accessible ports and has a strong maritime support industry. It is therefore considered an ideal location for testing wave energy generation devices, from small autonomous systems to large utility-scale grid connected devices. Oregon State University’s Burke Hales will discuss wave energy and the PacWave test facility offshore from South Beach that is managed by the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.
To help Oregon reduce its contribution to climate change, new sources of renewable energy that are complementary to existing solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are essential. Wave energy has many attributes that fit this need: waves do not ‘set’ at night or become obscured by clouds, and they are not dependent on river discharge and drought/flood cycles. Waves also persist in the ocean long after the winds die down.
The PacWave test facility consists of a small existing site (PacWave North) for testing small devices, and an in-development site (PacWave South) for testing larger grid-connected devices. When constructed, PacWave South will have four independent test berths located seven miles west of South Beach, each connected to the Central Lincoln Public Utility District grid by 5 MW-capable power transmission cables buried below the seafloor. Although this site is strictly for testing and development purposes, the power produced by a full-capacity testing operation could supply power equivalent to that consumed by 2,000 homes.
Burke Hales is the chief scientist of PacWave, and a professor of ocean ecology and biogeochemistry. He earned degrees in chemical engineering and chemical oceanography at the University of Washington, and served as a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate Change at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Oregon State in 1998. His research focuses on the ocean’s carbon cycles at its boundaries: The seafloor, the airsea interface, and the land-ocean margins. As a testament to his technical innovation in ocean science research, Hales is the inventor of the “Burke-o-Lator,” a system that has revolutionized shore-based ocean acidification monitoring.