Merkley: Wave Energy Grants Demonstrate Oregon’s Renewable Energy Leadership

Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today praised Oregon as a pioneer in the development of wave energy and highlighted almost $2.5 million in federal funding moving through the Senate for two Oregon wave energy projects. The funding will support a project that measures wave energy along the Oregon coastline and another developing a commercial wave energy project in Reedsport.

“As anyone who has slept with an open window near the beach knows, we have an infinite supply of waves, and they pack a serious punch,” said Merkley.  “That combination means huge potential for energy generation, and I’m excited that Oregon is leading the way in both wave energy research and commercial development.  Our state is quickly becoming a world leader in wave energy, and that means more jobs and more opportunity on the Oregon coast.”  

 According to leading research institutions, the Western coastline of the United States has the highest wave potential in the United States, and Oregon’s coastline in particular has been identified as ideal for wave energy development. Additionally, Oregon State University has long been a national leader in wave energy research and is continuing to develop state of the art wave energy technology.  Wave energy is a pollution-free source of energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and contains 1,000 times the kinetic energy of wind.

The development of clean, inexhaustible energy supplies – including wave energy – is a crucial part of Senator Merkley’s recent legislative proposal to end America’s dependence on overseas oil by 2030. In addition to investing in alternative energy sources like wave energy, the Senator’s oil independence plan includes creating an aggressive electric vehicle deployment program, increasing transportation fuel efficiency, and improving energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings.

The Coastal Data Information Program – Waves and Beaches project is on track to receive $2 million for wave energy measurement along the coast in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, Coos, and Curry counties in Oregon.  The project also includes San Diego County in California, where the project sponsor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is based.  

Also on track for Senate passage is a $400,000 grant for the first phase of the City of Reedsport’s wave power project.  The city has identified several locations near its beaches for test generators.

The funding for this project is part of the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations bill and must still pass the full Senate, be merged with a companion bill from the House, and be signed by the President before it becomes law and the funds become available.

An MP3 file of Senator Merkley’s comments is available for download: