Citing financial and regulatory challenges, Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has applied to surrender the license for its 1.5-MW Reedsport OPT Wave Park, the first commercial-scale wave power project to be licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC issued a 35-year license for the Reedsport project (No. 12713) in 2012 to a unit of OPT. The project was to consist of 10 PowerBuoy wave energy converters to be installed in a 35-acre area of the Pacific Ocean 2.5 miles off the coast of Douglas County, Ore.
Under terms of the license, licensee Reedsport OPT Wave Park LLC was to install, in Phase I, a single 150-kW PowerBuoy unit to test the mooring system and unit operation and to collect measurements of electromagnetic fields and acoustic emissions. In October 2012 it announced it would delay installing the first unit until spring 2013 due to the early onset of unfavorable weather in the Pacific Northwest. At that time, OPT said it was able to install one of the three needed anchors before efforts were halted.
In a surrender application filed May 30, OPT told FERC it experienced complications with installation of the first floating gravity-based anchor and auxiliary subsurface buoy in September 2012. In November 2012 it found the auxiliary subsurface buoy had settled on the sea floor. The buoy and associated tendon and outer mooring lines were recovered from the project area in October 2013, OPT said, adding it has plans to remove the floating gravity-based anchor from the sea floor by October 2014.
“The primary challenge has been raising additional project-specific financing for Phase I,” the surrender application said. “These challenges, together with project-timing issues that arose with the application of various license requirements to both the non-grid connected buoy in Phase I and the ten-buoy array in Phase II, initially led Reedsport to conclude that it might not install all of the project components for several years.”
Under terms of its license, OPT said it would circulate a draft of its proposed decommissioning plan to state and federal resource agencies, with submission of a final plan to FERC within 60 days.
“Despite continued efforts to overcome these challenges, Reedsport has found them to be insurmountable within the timeframes for construction and operation set forth in the license and is hereby proposing to decommission the Reedsport project by removing the installed FGBA and surrender the license,” the licensee said.
On OPT’s Internet site, the developer said the project has been discontinued by mutual agreement of OPT and the Department of Energy. OPT had received grants totaling $3.5 million from DOE.
“The Reedsport project encountered a considerable increase in costs related to the project and the company was unable to obtain the required financing directly related to the completion of the project,” the website said.