Oregon State submits draft application for 20-MW marine energy test site

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission draft license application submitted by Oregon State University marks an important milestone in the development of the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site.

The facility, or PMEC-SETS for short, would provide four pre-permitted test berths — each capable of connecting five devices to the grid off the coast of Newport, Ore. The site is expected to support up to 20 MW of marine energy generation.

The U.S. Department of Energy, acting as a project partner with OSU, said the application represents the “culmination of over five years of working with federal and state agencies, tribal governments, and other important stakeholders to identify appropriate project locations, develop project plans, and reach agreement on measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for potential environmental impacts.”

The FERC filing contains a number of key elements, including:

  • Preliminary draft environmental assessment;
  • Draft biological assessment;
  • Draft monitoring plans;
  • Draft protection, mitigation and enhancement measures; and
  • Adaptive management framework.

Oregon State is now collecting public comments on the draft license application, which will be evaluated as it prepares a final application for a 25-year FERC license later this year.

“The 25-year FERC operating license will help expedite the testing process at reduced costs for technology developers,” DOE said. “The ability to more quickly and cost-effectively test devices and demonstrate iterative design improvements will allow technology developers to more rapidly improve performance, drive down costs, and attract investment and financing for future projects.”

PMEC-SETS is being developed in conjunction with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. Initial operations are expected to begin in Summer 2021.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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