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Title: Wave Energy Research, Testing and Demonstration Center

The purpose of this project was to build upon the research, development and testing experience of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) to establish a non-grid connected open-ocean testing facility for wave energy converters (WECs) off the coast of Newport, Oregon. The test facility would serve as the first facility of its kind in the continental US with a fully energetic wave resource where WEC technologies could be proven for west coast US markets. The test facility would provide the opportunity for self-contained WEC testing or WEC testing connected via an umbilical cable to a mobile ocean test berth (MOTB). The MOTB would act as a “grid surrogate” measuring energy produced by the WEC and the environmental conditions under which the energy was produced. In order to realize this vision, the ocean site would need to be identified through outreach to community stakeholders, and then regulatory and permitting processes would be undertaken. Part of those processes would require environmental baseline studies and site analysis, including benthic, acoustic and wave resource characterization. The MOTB and its myriad systems would need to be designed and constructed.The first WEC test at the facility with the MOTB was completed within this projectmore » with the WET-NZ device in summer 2012. In summer 2013, the MOTB was deployed with load cells on its mooring lines to characterize forces on mooring systems in a variety of sea states. Throughout both testing seasons, studies were done to analyze environmental effects during testing operations. Test protocols and best management practices for open ocean operations were developed. As a result of this project, the non-grid connected fully energetic WEC test facility is operational, and the MOTB system developed provides a portable concept for WEC testing. The permitting process used provides a model for other wave energy projects, especially those in the Pacific Northwest that have similar environmental considerations. While the non-grid connected testing facility provides an option for WEC developers to prove their technology in a fully-energetic wave environment, the absence of grid connection is somewhat of a limitation. To prove that their technology is commercially viable, developers seek a multi-year grid connected testing option. To address this need, NNMREC is developing a companion grid connected test facility in Newport, Oregon, where small arrays of WECs can be tested as well.« less
  1. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
16 TIDAL AND WAVE POWER Wave Energy; Testing; Demonstration Center; Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center; Oregon State University; University of Washington