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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

News From My Backyard: Wave Energy Company to Install Buoy Off Oregon Coast

Finavera Renewables begins construction of AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter; plans to deploy test buoy later this year.

Finavera Renewables Inc. has begun construction of their second generation wave energy conversion device, the AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter. Fabrication of the device is being carried out at Oregon Iron Works in Portland, Oregon (see image at right) and will culminate in the planned deployment of the AquaBuOY later this year off the Oregon coast, a Finavera press release.

Alla Weinstein, General Manager of Finavera Renewables' ocean energy technology group said,

"The construction of the scaled AquaBuOY device is a tremendous accomplishment for our development team. After years of painstaking planning and development work we are now closer than ever to realizing our goals. Work crews are busy bending steel and fabricating components for the device which we plan to test in the ocean this year off the Oregon coast."
Test and measurement equipment will be installed on the AquaBuOY to monitor its operational performance. That information will form the basis for the follow-on development work which will lead to plans for the optimization of design and the path to product commercialization.

According to previous reports, Finvera plans to deploy their test buoy in partnership with Oregon State University (OSU). During the test deployment, OSU scientists and engineers to explore the technology's potential. OSU has emerged as the leading national research institute for wave energy technology.

Finavera Renewables CEO Jason Bak said,
"The start of construction is a proud moment for Finavera Renewables and illustrates our commitment to providing a new, renewable energy source for future generations. The device construction marks a key milestone in the development of AquaBuOY 2.0. Our next milestone will be the deployment and testing of the device, which we plan to carry out in waters off of Oregon. As we meet each of these milestones, we believe we are getting closer to making ocean energy commercially viable."
Finavera recently received a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) to explore a 100 MW wave energy project off the coast of Coos County, in southern Oregon (see previous post). The preliminary permit is valid for a period of three years, and allows Finavera Renewables to conduct various studies, including analyses of oceanographic conditions, commercial and recreational activities, and other impacts potentially associated with the planned project. The permit allows them to consider a project of up to 100 megawatts.

Finavera have also been moving steadily towards deployment of what may be the first operating North American wave energy park in Makah Bay off the northwestern tip of Washington state's Olympic Penninsula for several years (see previous post).

Finavera acquired wave energy technology developers AquaEnergy Group, Ltd. and their AquaBuoy technology last year. AquaEnergy Group began the original development of the Makah Bay site, for which they are seeking a full FERC siting permit (not a preliminary permit). Finavera/AquaEnergy recently completed a preliminary environmental impact assessment for the Makah Bay site which is under review (see previous post).

The Oregon coastline has emerged as the center of an emerging North American wave energy industry with several companies pursuing preliminary site permits for Oregon wave parks (see previous post).

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