Last Friday morning, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies announced that it had contracted with Oregon Iron Works to start building what it hopes will become a 10-buoy test system in the waters off Reedsport, Ore.
The first buoy is expected to deploy in a year. Two years after that, nine more buoys should go into the water. The fully deployed, $60 million system is expected to have a capacity of 1.5 megawatts — about half that of a single giant wind turbine (though the waves should be able to provide power around the clock, unlike the intermittent wind). OPT hopes to develop a much larger wave farm nearby that could have as many as 200 buoys.
The project will sit 2.5 miles offshore and connect to a Bonneville Power Administration substation. The project was being paid for with a combination of funds from Ocean Power, as well as federal dollars, Oregon tax breaks and money from the electric company, PNGC Power, which has agreed to purchase the power for its customers in Douglass County, Ore.