Explores Community and Industry Collaboration, Innovation and Opportunity
The future of clean, renewable ocean wave energy will be discussed in depth at the Ocean Renewable Energy Conference, held in Astoria, Oregon this year. This is the eighth annual ocean energy conference presented by the Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET), which has been held in Coos Bay, Seaside and Portland, Oregon in previous years.
According to Dr. Belinda Batten, conference chair, OWET board member and Director of Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), it was important to take the OWET conference back to the coast this year. With the completion of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) in early 2013 and selection by NNMREC of Newport as home of the new Pacific Marine Energy Center in-water, grid-connected South Energy Test Site (SETS), community and industry collaboration is the key to responsibly developing this new source of clean, renewable energy. She said, “From our own experience working with coastal communities to site SETS, we know that collaboration is critically important. Cooperatively, industry and community can be innovative in how they approach project development and benefit from economic and environmental opportunities.”
The Oregon coast is one of the most promising sites for the generation of wave energy in all of North America. The combination of high-energy waves, high demand for new renewable energy, capable seaports, an established marine and fabrication industry base, available power grid connections near the coast, and a culture of interest in green innovation and environmental issues make the state a prime spot for the development of wave energy. The State of Oregon has made the development of wave energy a priority and the Oregon Innovation Council has designated $10 million to date to support the responsible development of this emerging industry. Oregon’s return on investment will result in clean energy and new high wage jobs.
Part of that funding established the OWET, a private, not-for-profit organization that is an integral part of the state’s overall effort to be the leading authority of renewable wave energy.
“The Ocean Renewable Energy Conference is a chance for community members and wave energy leaders to collaborate on how we develop this new industry,” said Jason Busch, Executive Director of OWET. “Since we were formed, OWET has been working
to bring together Oregon’s diverse communities of interest around the oceans and the coastline. This conference is an opportunity to broaden discussions, increase involvement and inform future activities directed by OWET.”
Busch said the conference’s speakers and sessions will demystify how wave energy projects are established and discuss issues relevant to various stakeholders. Information about the benefits of wave energy—including the creation of jobs and economic development—will also be on the agenda. Guest speakers at the conference will include representatives from coastal communities, industry, environmental organizations and state and federal governments.
Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Skip Hauke and several Chamber members worked closely with OWET to bring the conference to Astoria. Mr. Busch commented, “The creativity and enthusiastic welcome offered by Mr. Hauke and his team made our decision easy. In essence, Astoria will be Convention City for conference attendees this year. The conference will be held September 25th and 26th at the beautifully renovated historic Liberty Theater with several events scheduled at other area venues.”
In the spirit of encouraging community and industry engagement, and with the support of our conference planning partners, OWET has rolled back registration fees this year to match rates for the 2009 conference held in Seaside, Oregon. It is our hope that the lower registration fees will enable broad participation by coastal residents, industry representatives and other stakeholders.
Registration and conference details available here.