After a multi-day installation operation, Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI), a Portland-based company, successfully installed a wave energy device off the coast of Newport, Oregon. The prototype is now deployed at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s (NNMREC) open ocean test site, and instrumentation buoys are collecting both performance data and environmental information.
“This is a huge milestone for the technology, for Oregon, and for the wave energy industry as a whole”, said NWEI Program Manager Justin Klure. “We are excited to have the opportunity to test our device off Oregon’s coast with the support of NNMREC, our funding partners and a host of marine professionals”, Klure added.
Sean Moran, NNMREC’s Ocean Test Facilities Manager, also acknowledged the success, “NWEI is blazing the trail for this industry in Oregon. Through testing in our facility they are helping to answer core questions about wave energy for a broad community of stakeholders.”
The device deployed off the Oregon coast is a second generation, half-scale iteration of the Azura wave energy technology. Power generated by the device is transmitted through an underwater cable to the test center’s instrumentation buoy (the Ocean Sentinel), which dissipates the electricity and records power performance data.
An innovative, multi-mode wave energy converter, the device maximizes energy capture by harnessing power from the heave, pitch and surge motions of passing waves. The technology is the product of a research consortium led by Callaghan Innovations (formerly Industrial Research Limited), a Crown Research Institute. NWEI began collaborating with the Callaghan in 2010 to further the WET-NZ design and introduce it to the U.S. market.
This deployment is part of NWEI’s program to advance the Azura technology in the U.S., which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. NWEI will utilize performance data from the pilot project to refine Cost-of-Energy calculations and develop a business plan responsive to the growing renewable energy market.
According to OWET executive director Jason Busch, “OWET’s mission is to responsibly develop the ocean energy industry in Oregon, and helping NWEI get their device in the water is a major step towards achieving that goal. In-ocean testing will move the technology towards commercialization and lead to a better understanding of technology performance and impacts in real-world conditions. This is a major accomplishment for NWEI, NNMREC and Oregon.”
The testing is scheduled to continue through the end of September.