Oregon State University

Marine Renewable Energy

Ocean Sentinel wave energy testing platform being deployed off Yaquina Head

Power from ocean waves and wind

From early proof-of-concept testing to ongoing public engagement and education, Oregon Sea Grant is playing a part in efforts to develop renewable energy from the ocean waves and wind - while minimizing the conflicts with other ocean uses.

Starting in 2003, Sea Grant seed money helped fund pioneering scientific and engineering work by OSU researchers Annette Von Jouanne and the late Alan Wallace which determined that the motion of the waves can be harnessed to generate electricity.

Within a few years, renewable energy companies from the US and abroad were banging on Oregon's doors, filing multiple permits with the federal Energy Regulatory Commission for commercial-scale projects off the Oregon coast.

Coastal communities, torn between the desire for clean, sustainable energy and a desire to protect their livelihoods and the marine environment, responded by filing their own permit applications in an effort to have some control over where offshore energy facilities might be located.

We support this through conducting research regarding the human dimensions of energy production and cooperatively learning with the public about the complex issues involved. We have:

Sea Grant engages with communities

Sea Grant, under the leadership of Extension Marine Fisheries educator Kaety Hildenbrand, and Community Outreach specialist Flaxen Conway:

  • Helped to organize stakeholder groups up and down the coast, bringing commercial, charter and sport fishing interests, local governments and others into the siting process.
  • Conducted research aimed at better understanding the social and environmental ramifications of wave energy.
  • Partnered with the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, a new US Department of Energy-funded project of Oregon State University and Washington State University.
  • Produced a report on the human dimensions of wave energy for the Oregon Wave Energy Trust.
  • Produces short publications, videos aimed at helping the public understand the technology and issues surrounding marine renewable energy.
  • Designed and launched a new exhibit at the HMSC Visitor Center focused on the complex issues involved in wave energy siting and production.

Related research

  • Identification of Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space-Use Conflicts and Analysis of Potential Mitigation Measures. Flaxen Conway, Sea Grant Extension/OSU Marine Resource Management program, collaborated with colleagues at MIT, the Urban Harbors Institute, and Sea Grant programs in California and Virginia on a project led by Industrial Economics, Inc.  (Funding: US Bureau of Energy Management). Learn more and read the research report.
  • Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center: Outreach and engagement (ongoing). Kaety Hildenbrand, Sea Grant Extension, Lincoln County. (Funding: US Department of Energy; additional funding from the Oregon Wave Energy Trust).

Learn more

Contact Info

Oregon Sea Grant
1600 SW Western Blvd
Suite 350
Corvallis OR 97333
Phone: 541-737-2714
FAX: 541-737-7958

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