Oregon’s ports set to exploit wave test center chances

The ports along the coast of Oregon are well positioned to seize the opportunities expected to arise from the development of a national open ocean test center off Newport, said Bud Shoemake, Director of the Port of Toledo and President of the Oregon Public Ports Association.

Shoemake said a lot of the core services offered by commercial facilities along the coast are going to correlate ‘very nicely’ with what the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site (PMEC-SETS) needs in the long run.

“Our efforts with PMEC-SETS are driven by the need to solve our energy problems not as separate coastal cities but as a whole state coastline. The fact that the test facility can source equipment and services from local facilities such as Toledo, Newport, and Coos Bay is enormously useful for the facility as well as for the local community.

“Anything maintenance-wise on either the mechanical or electrical sides can be accomplished in our area. We have the expertise of marine vendors in our boatyard and are here to support the marine industry,” said Bud Shoemake.

When it comes to the Port of Toledo, Shoemake added it could provide welding, fitting, machinery, and lifting services, noting also that the port has a boatyard which can be used for launching the devices, as well as a tug boat service to tow them along the Yaquina River.

Furthermore, Shoemake said the development of a new five-year business plan which will outline recruitment strategies and facility updates is underway.

“Early engagement with key stakeholders is vital for any planning process so we connected with representatives from Oregon State University as well as the larger community on this business plan,” said Shomeake.

The PMEC-SETS is being designed and constructed by Oregon State University. When completed, PMEC-SETS will be a utility scale, grid-connected, open ocean test facility able to accommodate up to 20 wave energy converters (WEC) in four test berths at any one time.

Each of the four test berths will have a dedicated transmission cable and the site will be pre-permitted for known WEC technologies, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The site, which received a $40 million boost from DOE in December 2016, is expected to begin with initial operations in the summer of 2020.

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