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There are several things happening around wave energy especially in the Reedsport area. Ocean Power Technologies is proposing a project and is now getting all of the state and federal approval permits for a wave energy park near Reedsport. They already have a permit for one 140-foot tall buoy with 30-feet of it sticking out of the ocean. The proposed project is to have nine more of those buoys in place in the Reedsport area in the ocean off Gardner by next summer. Most of the questions raised so far have been around weather the buoys and their underwater cables could entangle whales or snare crab pots.
If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC grants OPT their license and a permit is granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers these buoys would be operating off the coast for the next 35-years. The wave park would sit about two and a half miles offshore near the edge of the Oregon territorial sea. There was a hearing held recently by DEQ regarding the permit for a water quality certification. If approved by DEQ it would include many conditions including that OPT monitor water quality at the site and have a spill plan in place to determine what they would do should the 200-265 gallons of hydraulic fluid in each buoy were to leak. The state is still accepting public comments on the proposed certification.
According to OPT the wave park will generate much needed jobs to the area. Robert F. Lurie, OPT Vice President for North America Business Development and Marketing, said they are delivering on the promise to convert Oregon waves into Oregon jobs. The majority of the content of OPT’s PowerBuoys is manufactured and assembled near the coastal sites at which they are deployed. This lays the foundation for a new, environmentally beneficial ocean-related industry to support Oregon’s southern coastal communities and manufacturing firms. This includes the continuing need for local resources to assist in PowerBuoy marine operations.