A New Jersey-based company that received $8.7 million in federal grants to develop a buoy to capture wave energy off the Oregon coast has quietly abandoned the project, the New York Times reported today.
Ocean Power Technologies has taken its technology to Australia where the government will give them $62 million to continue its research.
The company was developing the nation's first commercial wave parks near Reedsport and Coos Bay. The project would have supplied power to 1,000 homes with 10 buoys, each the size of a blue whale. Instead the first buoy was completed two years ago and sits untested at the Port of Portland.
Ocean Power Technologies received the nation's first commercial license to produce energy-capturing buoys.
The Times reports on what this means for Oregon:
Ocean Power’s departure is particularly frustrating for supporters in Oregon, with its ideal coastal waters and hospitable political climate. Along with other sources of renewable energy, hydroelectric power produced 70 percent of the state’s net electricity last year, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.
The Oregon Wave Energy Trust, a nonprofit, state-financed group, spent $430,000 in state lottery money helping Ocean Power navigate the process of seeking a permit. The group’s executive director, Jason Busch, was one of the project’s biggest supporters. “This state has the best wave resources in the country,” Mr. Busch said, “so whatever the problem with the project was, it had nothing to do with the site.”