December 4, 2009, 1:46 pm

Oregon is moving ahead with plans for the nation’s first commercial wave energy station.

On Friday morning, New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies announced that it has contracted with Oregon Iron Works to start building what it hoped will become a 10-buoy test system in the waters off Reedsport, Ore.

“We’re thrilled to be under way,” said Mark Draper, Ocean Power’s chief executive, in a telephone interview before the announcement. “We hope this is just the beginning of a new phase in capturing a major source of renewable energy.”

Mr. Draper said that the first buoy was expected to deploy in a year. Two years after that, nine more buoys should go into the water. The fully deployed, $60 million system was expected to have a capacity of 1.5 megawatts — about half that of a single giant wind turbine (though the waves should be able to provide plenty of power around the clock, unlike the intermittent wind). Mr. Draper said his company expected to develop a much larger wave farm nearby that could have as many as 200 buoys.

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DLCD is the lead on amending the Territorial Sea Plan. To reach DLCD contact:

Paul Klarin
635 Capitol St. NE, Suite 150
Salem, OR 97301-2540