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Oregon’s Big Buoy

April 09 2010 | Ocean Ecosystems, Ocean Energy,
by Rick Wilson

A wave energy project off Reedsport, Oregon is slated to be the first such commercial scale project in the U.S. Surfrider Foundation has been participating as a formal stakeholder in the settlement process on behalf of recreation and conservation interests.

Two and a half years after a wave energy test buoy sank off Newport, the drive to harness energy from the ocean is heating up again with plans for at least one buoy to be deployed off Oregon's central coast before the year's end.

And there are hopes for a handful more not long after.

It's all part of Oregon's race to become a leader in wave energy technology, a competition that only three years ago threatened to deteriorate into a bitter battle pitting east coast developers against fishermen, surfers and others.

Many of them feared the buoys could harm fishing, recreation and tourism. But today, some say the situation exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

"Oregon has a lot to be proud of and a lot of people have shown a lot of leadership," Onno Husing, executive director of Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association. "We are literally helping to figure this out for the nation."

If that happens -- if Oregon wins the wave energy race and does it well -- proponents say it could someday mean $1 billion plus annually to the state,

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