Energy Secretary, Senators, Governor Tour Oregon State Wave Lab

U.S. Department
of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Oregon U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and
Jeff Merkley and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited the O.H.
Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory
 at Oregon State University on
Tuesday afternoon, with Granholm touting wave energy as “the elixir that
we need” to address climate change by ending the nation’s reliance on
fossil fuels.

The visit was
organized by OSU and the Pacific Marine Energy Center, a consortium of
universities including Oregon State that is focused on advancing marine
renewable energy.  

“We’ve all been
in the ocean,” Granholm told a group of OSU researchers and students
after touring the lab’s wave basin and flume. “We’ve all felt the
energy it has. That energy can be used to turn on the lights in our homes.
Those waves never stop moving.”  

During the 80-minute
visit to the wave lab, the secretary, senators and governor mingled with
graduate students who provided presentations on their research. The leaders
also discussed the future of green energy with OSU faculty from the colleges of
Engineering and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.   

The state and
federal leaders heard presentations on the use of autonomous underwater robots,
which are seen as the key to safely inspecting and maintaining undersea
generation equipment. 

The leaders also
heard updates on PacWave, Oregon State’s open-ocean wave energy test facility
to be constructed 7 miles off the Oregon Coast south of Newport, and C-Power,
an Oregon company that makes marine energy power generation devices.  

“As a land
grant institution, Oregon State University takes on society’s most pressing
issues, like climate change by coming up with clean energy
solutions,” OSU Interim President Becky Johnson told the state and
federal leaders. “I’m proud of our marine energy research and
development initiatives, which are only possible because of the support we
receive at the federal and state levels.”  

Wyden pledged to
make collaboration, research and federal investments priorities in advancing
wave energy development.    

“Every step of
the way we’ll bring people together, fishing families and the
Tribes,” added Wyden. “We need both funding for the
research and for economic activity in the private sector. Sen. Merkley and I
are in a position to make sure marine energy gets done right.”  

Wind, solar and wave
energy show “enormous potential,” said Merkley. 

“We have some
of the best locations for wave power, and we need facilities like this lab and
PacWave to develop the technologies for harvesting it,” he
said. “My hope is that 10 years from now wave energy is a real

Brown described
Granholm as a “phenomenal leader working to decarbonize the energy

“She shares our
values, and the No. 1 value is collaboration,” Brown
said. “We need everyone, including the federal government and the
private sector, to make green energy work. Equity needs to be at the forefront
as we work toward a fossil-free energy future because we know that people of
color and Indigenous people have been disproportionately impacted by climate