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Not Easy To Find Room For Ocean Energy

Dec. 13, 2012 | Northwest News Network
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Tom Banse


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  • A wave energy generator built by Ocean Power Technologies rests on its side on a dock in Scotland, just prior to deployment. OPT says its Reedsport, Ore. project will use the same type of buoy credit: OPT Inc.
A wave energy generator built by Ocean Power Technologies rests on its side on a dock in Scotland, just prior to deployment. OPT says its Reedsport, Ore. project will use the same type of buoy | credit: OPT Inc. | rollover image for more

GLENEDEN BEACH, Ore. - It goes without saying that the Pacific Ocean is vast. So it may come as a surprise to hear the sea described as “crowded.” Perhaps even too crowded to make room for the nascent industry of wave and tidal energy. Taxpayers and investors have pumped tens of millions of dollars into finding ways to turn the ocean’s power into electricity. In recent weeks, high stakes negotiations to identify wave energy sites on the Oregon Coast are finally getting somewhere.

It’s the end of the beginning of what has been a long and fraught process. In a windowless conference hall at Salishan Resort, a state advisory committee wraps up with a light-hearted but telling vote.

“Please signify by saying ‘argh’,” says the maker of a motion to adjourn.

The loud “argh” in response comes from 25 people who’ve spent months parsing ocean maps in an attempt to balance competing interests.

“It’s hard to fit a new industry into an already crowded territorial sea,” says Nick Edwards of Coos Bay. He advocates for commercial fishermen like himself. He says the placement of industrial energy generators on top of prime crabbing grounds could spell disaster for the local fishing fleet … continued at NW News Network, which first reported this story.

© 2012 Northwest News Network
wave energy environment renewable energy fishing
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