Of all the renewable energy technologies, wave power is the furthest back on the evolution chart. As it turns out, harnessing energy from ocean waves isn’t easy. But the technology is improving, and extracting energy from ocean motion could eventually follow the same growth curves we have seen for wind and solar.
The U.S. wave power movement got a big boost last week when it was announced that the Feds have granted New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) permission to build the first commercial wave power plant in the country.
The 35-year license allows the company to proceed with plans for a 1.5-megawatt power project about 2.5 miles off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon. The wave power plant will make use of OPT’s PowerBuoy system, which in has already been successfully deployed in the waters off of Scotland, Hawaii and New Jersey.
“The issuance of this license by FERC is an important milestone for the U.S. wave energy industry as well as for OPT,” stated the company’s CEO, Charles F. Dunleavy. ”The 35-year term of the license demonstrates the commercial potential of wave power, and this will support initiatives to secure financing for the project.”
The project will eventually feature 10 wave power buoys that will generate enough power for about 1,000 homes. Construction of the initial PowerBuoy is nearing completion and it is expected to be ready for deployment later this year.