PacWave South to be the First Utility-Scale, Grid-Connected, Wave Energy Test Site in the US

February 27th, 2023

Oregon State University started the development of a wave energy test facility, over a decade ago, to help develop this industry. This facility is called PacWave South, and it is the first utility-scale, grid-connected, wave energy test site in the United States. It will provide wave energy developers the opportunity to use different devices for utilizing the ocean’s waves to transmit energy to the electric grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy, Oregon State, and other public and private entities support PacWave South through grants. The construction of the site is being managed by Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Recently, the project leaders at the facility reached some important construction milestones. They are in the process of procuring more than 80 kilometers of cable, which will be used to deliver wave-generated energy to a shoreside facility that will be connected to the local grid.

What is Wave Energy?

Wave energy is derived from the motion of waves, and it is a type of renewable energy.

Waves are caused by tides that are controlled by the lunar cycles. The rolling of waves in the ocean causes kinetic energy that may be utilized to power turbines. This energy may be converted into electricity and power by connecting the turbines to the power grid.

How Will PacWave South Work?

PacWave test site will be located around seven miles off the coast of Newport. It will have four test “berths” that can accommodate 20 wave-energy devices at a time. The ocean test site will be connected to the shoreside facility in Seal Rock, south of Newport, through power cables below the seafloor. After the subsea cables have been installed, they will connect to the terrestrial cables underground. These cables will carry the wave-generated energy to the shoreside facility.

How Will the PacWave South Facility Help?

The local power grid will be connected to the wave-generated power at the shoreside facility. The connection to the power grid will help wave-energy developers test the effectiveness of the different devices they will use, as well as the processes of turning the energy harnessed from the power of the ocean into electricity, which will be valued by the energy sector.

The US Department of Energy has already given funding to a list of wave-energy developers identified by them, to start testing their devices, as soon as PacWave South facility is completed. It is scheduled to become operational in 2025.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Certrec. This content is meant for informational purposes only.