FERC accepts license surrender by first U.S. wave power project, 1.5-MW Reedsport

OPT PowerBuoy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has accepted the surrender of the hydropower license of the proposed 1.5-MW Reedsport OPT Wave Park, the first commercial-scale wave power project to be licensed by the commission.

Citing financial and regulatory challenges, Ocean Power Technologies Inc. applied to surrender the license in May. FERC had 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.

“The primary challenge has been raising additional project-specific financing for Phase I,” the surrender application said, adding that OPT experienced complications with installation of the first floating gravity-based anchor and auxiliary subsurface buoy as early as September 2012.

In accepting the license surrender Aug. 14, FERC outlined OPT’s plans to decommission and remove project equipment and approved its plans to protect area resources during the procedure. FERC said the surrender is approved contingent on OPT completing its decommissioning obligations.

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.

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