U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

FERC Awards License for Oregon Wave Power Station

August 22, 2012

Photo of a metal buoy bobbing in the ocean.

Ocean Power Technologies, which launched a device to convert wave energy off Hawaii's coast in 2009, plans to tap wave power off the Oregon coast.
Credit: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) announced on August 20 that its subsidiary has received approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a planned 1.5 megawatt wave power station off the Oregon coast. This is the first FERC license for a wave power station issued in the United States. The license provides a regulatory approval for the deployment of up to 10 OPT devices, generating enough electricity for approximately 1,000 homes.

Construction of the initial 150-kilowatt device is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for deployment about 2.5 miles off the Reedsport, Oregon coast later this year. The wave energy converter consists of an open steel cylinder extending downward into the ocean from a floating buoy. A piston is located midway down the cylinder, and as waves pass, the piston moves up and down along the cylinder, applying pressure to seawater-filled hoses that eject high-pressure seawater into a turbine, which drives a generator to produce power.

OPT has received funding for this first system from the Energy Department with the support of the Oregon Congressional delegation and from PNGC Power, an Oregon-based electric power cooperative. Specifically, FERC has granted a 35-year license for grid-connected wave energy production. After the initial device is deployed, OPT plans to construct up to nine additional devices and grid connection infrastructure, subject to receipt of additional funding and all necessary regulatory approvals. See the OPT press release.