OWET Research 

Advanced Anchoring and Mooring Studies

An industry knowledge base for existing anchoring and mooring techniques was established, along with providing potential solutions that eliminate or minimize the conflicts with other public and commercial users of the coastal waters including the fishing and crabbing industry.

Partners: Sound & Sea TechnologyBittner-Shen Consulting Engineers

Advanced Anchoring & Mooring Study – November 2009
Embedment Anchor Study—Coming Soon

Ambient Noise Assessment

This review study has been conducted to provide a concise knowledge base of the expected underwater noise conditions in the nearshore environment in regions of the Oregon coast where ocean energy projects could be developed and to present an overview of noise measurement methodologies that would be suitable for the effective regulatory assessment of potential acoustic impacts. This report is intended as a reference to be used by ocean energy developers in the specification and selection of approaches to underwater noise measurement that would be acceptable to regulatory bodies, consistent with the state of the industry and cost effective to implement.

Partner: JASCO Applied Sciences

Ambient Noise Assessment—December 2009

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Measurements

The major objective of this project was to demonstrate an ability to achieve affordable, reliable, repeatable Electromagnetic Field (EMF) measurement protocols in support of wave and tidal energy technology development and deployment. As such, this report was prepared to describe the prototype instrumentation fabricated with affordable and available components, calibration results to provide the basis for repeatability, and a data summary of the ambient background and energized power cable measurements conducted during at-sea measurement deployments.

Partner: Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

Electromagnetic Field Measurements: EMF Summary—September 2010
Electromagnetic Field Measurements: EMF Full Report—September 2010

Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center

In 2008, Oregon State University, with assistance from OWET, was awarded $6.25 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) to develop the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) to facilitate the responsible development of wave and offshore wind energy in the Northwest through research, education and outreach.

Partner: Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC)

Oregon Deployment Best Practices

Deployment best practices were established based on the successful deployment and recovery of the WET-NZ wave energy converter device deployed for a period of six weeks at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s Newport test site. Practices described focus on the WET-NZ device, it’s related mooring system and the device’s connection to the Ocean Sentinel. The WET-NZ was connected to the Ocean Sentinel via an umbilical cable to transmit power and perform various data and instrumentation experiments.

Partner: Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI)

Oregon Deployment Best Practices—December 2012

Sediment Transport Studies

Researchers initiated a baseline study of sediment transport processes in order to assess the potential effects of ocean energy devices on sediment transport and on the morphology of beaches. Core elements of the monitoring program included the measurements of the waves and currents, numerical modeling of the background ocean climate and nearshore bathymetry and shoreline observations to document the baseline conditions. The monitoring and modeling techniques developed will be useful for assessing the effects of future ocean energy devices that will be established along the Oregon coast.

Partners: Oregon State University, Pacific Energy Ventures, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries

Sediment Transport Study: Phase 1—December 2009
Sediment Transport Study: Phase 2—August 2010

WEC-array Far-field Effects Analysis

Laboratory experiments were performed using five 1:33 scale, commercially designed, point-absorber wave energy converters (WECS). Multiple array configurations were subjected to a wide range of wave conditions—both regular waves and fully-directional sea states—in order to better constrain models for simulating the environmental effects of large-scale arrays of WECs. Partnered with Oregon State University and Columbia Power Technologies.

Partner: Oregon State University

Downloads: WEC-array Far-field Effects Analysis—October 2011

OWET works with stakeholders, industry and local communities to explore the balance among existing ocean uses and ocean energy projects.

Energy and the Environment Initiative

OWET provided grant funds to support OMSI’s Renewable Energy Exhibit & Outreach Programming. The exhibit and programming is a cornerstone of its Energy & the Environment Initiative to educate the public about renewable energy and sustainable technology and the role ocean energy will play in both.

Partner: Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI)

Fishermen’s Information Services

OWET provided grant funds to support the formation of the Fishermen’s Information Services for Housing Confidential Release and Essential Distribution (FISCHRED). FISHCRED was formed to serve as a central decision-making entity to guide, review, and approve of how fisheries data will be presented, utilized, or applied in the Territorial Sea Plan and other planning/policy processes. More broadly, FISHCRED seeks to ensure that the diversity of commercial fishing interests across the coast of Oregon are sufficiently represented and communicated in Oregon’s Marine Spatial Planning efforts.

Partners: Oregon Sea Grant, Ecotrust, and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development

Fishing Industry Engagements

OWET provided grant-funding support to create organized groups of fishermen that are able to work directly with the ocean energy industry. Funds were granted to Oregon Sea Grant, who built processes for dialogue with the fishing groups and managed the funds for continued industry engagement. Outreach activities have included coast wide meetings for all fishermen, public community forums, and public workshops on marine spatial planning and fishing grounds mapping. Oregon’s fishing community is concerned about the potential effects that ocean energy conversion devices could have on Dungeness crab movement, behavior and harvests. The Oregon Sea Grant used the crab tagged for an earlier study conducted by H.T. Harvey and Associates, rewarding commercial fishermen for returning the tags, in order to collect and analyze adult Dungeness crab movement.

Partners: Oregon Sea Grant

Crab Movement—February 2011

Oregon Fishing Community Mapping Project Outreach

Working with coastal governments and community groups, OWET funded the gathering of community-information needed to create an Oregon ocean plan. The overarching goal of this project was to compile the first-ever comprehensive maps illustrating the commercial, charter, and recreational fishing use patterns and values along the entire Oregon coast. That information, along with other overlays of information showing sensitive marine ecosystems and other existing ocean uses, was used to identify areas in the ocean optimal for commercial-scale ocean energy sites. A coastal community wide effort, 244 commercial fishermen, 63 charter operators/owners, and 237 recreational fishermen participated by sharing their knowledge and experience.

Partner: Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA), Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, and Ecotrust

Socio-Economic Perspectives of Wave Energy Development

A multidisciplinary group of social scientists from Oregon State University created a new research program, the Human Dimension of Wave Energy (HDWE), to provide the opportunity for a cadre of social scientists – professors and graduate students – to study this new use of the ocean space and place. Six individual, yet interrelated, projects under four research areas coordinated their efforts to understand ocean energy in terms of the political and regulatory process, the environment, social and economic sustainability and acceptability. The interviews and research conducted by the HDWE discovered information that could inform people, policy makers and their ocean energy planning and permitting decisions in regard to the best available social information and best management practices.

Partner: Oregon State University

Socio-Economic Perspectives of Wave Energy Development—September 2009

Wave Energy Education Exhibit

OWET funded a new wave energy educational exhibit created by the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC)  in Newport, Oregon. The HMSC receives over 150,000 visitors per year. The exhibit educates the public on the benefits of wave energy, different wave energy converter technologies, project development status, and political and economic considerations.

Partners: Oregon State University and Oregon Sea Grant

OWET has sponsored research projects to better understand the potential impacts of ocean energy projects on the environment. The execution of these studies has been informed by the study plans generated by ocean energy project development on the Oregon Coast.

Avian Radar Study

Geo-Marine, Inc. (GMI) conducted an offshore avian radar baseline study for an ocean energy study located northwest of Reedsport, Oregon from 25 August through 29 October 2010. The study was conducted from shore with GMI’s Mobile Avian Radar System (MARS®). Avian radar validation surveys were designed specifically by GMI for this study to determine the accuracy of the radar data in predicting the number of birds that would potentially collide with the 30-ft tall wave buoys. Diurnal land-based near-shore and diurnal and nocturnal boat-based radar validation surveys were conducted specifically to determine whether the radar could detect birds flying at low attitudes above the water.

Parner: Geo-Marine, Inc

Avian Radar Study—April 2011

Baseline Characterization of Benthic Habitats and Organisms

The Baseline Characterization of Benthic Habitats and Organisms: Newport assessed the baseline characterization via observations and sample collection of the habitat and biological assemblages present at the then future site of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) Ocean Test Facility near Newport, Oregon and also in Reedsport near the future Ocean Power Technologies Demonstration facility. The goal of this project was to assess sediment characteristics, infaunal invertebrates, epifaunal invertebrates and fish at the future installation site, inshore of the target site and at a reference site. Specifically, CTD casts, box cores and beam trawl collections were conducted. The project reports in detail on the spatial variability of the habitat features and biological assemblages. Finally, recommendations are suggested for future monitoring at these or similar sites.

Partner: Oregon State University

Baseline Characterization of Benthic Habitats and Organisms: Newport—December 2011
Baseline Characterization of Benthic Habitats and Organisms: Reedsport— December 2011

Baseline Seabird Assessment

As part of the California Current Ecosystem Survey, NOAA Fisheries sponsored pairs of seabird observers who collected quantitative information on marine bird species, abundance, and behavior during all daylight hours when the ship was under way. Observers participated on Leg 1 and Leg 2 of the April 2008 Miller Freeman survey, and Legs 1, 2, and 3 of the July-August David Starr Jordan survey. This report is meant to provide a concise data summary of methods, survey dates and locations, and relative abundance of bird species seen during the surveys.

Partner: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Baseline Seabird Assessment—August 2008

Dungeness Crab & Fish Baseline Study

The purpose of this project was to collect baseline data, the “before” component for a Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) study, of the effects of a wave energy conversion project planned for the coastal waters off of Reedsport, Oregon on the local benthic ecology. A BACI study controls for inevitable spatial and temporal environmental variation and provides an objective, scientific means of addressing the question “Does this project result in significant environmental change?” In this study, the focus was on Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) and other substrate-associated marine organisms.

Partner: H. T. Harvey & Associates

Dungeness Crab & Fish Baseline Study—December 2009

Dungeness Crab Genetic Study

This study’s findings will be a key component of the evaluation of ocean energy devices and the possible effects on potentially genetically distinct sub and source Oregon Dungeness Crab.

Partner: Oregon State University

Evaluating the population genetic structure of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister ) off the Oregon coast – June 2014

Ecological Effects Workshop

A workshop to address the potential effects of wave energy technology on the ecological and physical components of coastal ecosystems was organized at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, on October 11–12, 2007. A diverse group of some 50 marine scientists from around the country participated in the workshop, and this report summarizes their key findings.

Partner: Oregon State University

Ecological Effects Workshop – October 2007

Green Sturgeon Study

An acoustic telemetry study will assess the potential effects of a pilot-scale wave energy development on green sturgeon migration, behavior, and habitat use, covering three migratory periods.

Partner: Blue Dot Research, LLC

Migration and Habitat use of Green Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) near the Umpqua River Estuary

Marine Mammal Acoustic Studies

Migratory routes and potential locational effects of ocean energy development on gray whale migration were surveyed. Some ocean-power projects will be anchored to the sea floor via a series of cables and anchors. How whales will interact with these devices is largely unknown. During the early winter and late spring, more than 20,000 grey whales migrate between Baja California in Mexico and the Bering Sea. Their migration path ranges between 100 yards and five miles offshore. Experiments are underway for a successful deterrent device that could be used as a mitigation tool to keep gray whales away from potentially harmful situations, such as might arise with the development of hydrokinetic energy along the Oregon coast.

Partner: Oregon State University

Marine Mammal Acoustic Studies Phase One—October 2008
Marine Mammal Acoustic Studies Phase Two—Coming Soon

Marine Mammal Migration Study

The objective of this study was to generate accurate, up to date data on distribution (distance to shore, travel path) and behavior (travel speed, migration timing) of gray whales migrating along the central Oregon coast. Results from this study helps estimate potential exposure of migrating gray whales to ocean energy facilities in the Oregon territorial sea. Moreover, the baseline information reported here, combined with further observations to monitor gray whale behavior after ocean energy facilities are installed, can be used to determine potential effects and to evaluate the need for and effectiveness of mitigation measures.

Partner: Oregon State University

Marine Mammal Migration Study—October 2008

Marine Bird Winter Surveys

As part of annual marine mammal surveys of critical habitat, NOAA Fisheries mobilized a winter research survey during 16 February to 06 March 2012. Two contract seabird observers aboard the Shimada for the entire survey collected quantitative information on marine bird species, abundance and behavior during all daylight hours when the ship was under way and weather conditions permitted. This report is meant to provide a concise data summary of methods, survey dates and locations, and basic information about bird species seen during the surveys.

Partner: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Downloads: Marine Bird Winter Surveys—March 2012

OWET supports developers of ocean energy with funds, policy work, and supply chain and utility relationships.

Camp Rilea Feasibility Project

This project initiates the conceptual design for the Camp Rilea Ocean Renewable Energy Program. Researchers will conduct outreach with existing users and stakeholders in addition to testing several different aspects of ocean energy generation off the Oregon coast.

Partner: Oregon Military Department

Initiate Concept Design for Camp Rilea Ocean Testing FacilityCoastal Infrastructure Inventory

Ocean Renewable Energy Infrastructure Assessment – 2009

To better serve its stakeholders, OWET commissioned a gap analysis to assess the infrastructure needs of ocean renewable energy and compare those needs against the existing and planned infrastructure capabilities in Oregon. The Wave Energy Infrastructure Assessment in Oregon report summarizes the results of the assessment performed by Advanced Research Corporation and is intended to serve as a reference resource for a variety of readers: suppliers, ocean energy developers, state and regional governments, economic development authorities, and educational institutions.

Partner: Advanced Research Corporation

Coastal Infrastructure Inventory—December 2009

Economic Impacts of Wave Energy to Oregon’s Economy

A baseline of the estimated economic impact of ocean energy development in three of Oregon’s coastal counties was established.

Partners: ECONorthwest, Portland State University Northwest Economic Research Center

Economic Impacts of Wave Energy to Oregon’s Economy—September 2009
Wave Energy in Clatsop County, OR – An Economic Impact Analysis – October 2013

Incentivizing Ocean Energy

The Incentivizing Ocean Energy project, completed July 2011 by Robert K. Harmon, studies methods of bridging the gap between the cost of ocean energy and the price it can command in the marketplace, especially for early-stage technologies. Robert K. Harmon details strategies to reduce the cost of ocean energy, gain political support, advocate for favorable treatment in regulatory markets and make the best use of voluntary markets. Methods include building alliances, focusing on grants, benefiting from tax incentives, preferential siting, working collaboratively with other sectors and more. This report is a go-to guide on how early-to-mid stage businesses will best profit from ocean energy devices in both the short and long term.

Incentivizing Ocean Energy: Renewable Energy Credit Certification Process supplements the initial report with more current information and serves as a guide for businesses on how to attain ocean energy certification.

Partners: Robert K. Harmon & Company LLC, Carbon Solutions Northwest LLC

Incentivizing Ocean Energy – July 2011
Incentivizing Ocean Energy: Renewable Energy Credit Certification Process – November 2012

Market Analysis for Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site

In order to ensure the development of the South Energy Test Site (SETS) at the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) meets the needs of the industry, GL Garrad Hassan was commissioned to complete a Market Analysis Report. The analysis includes a sector profile, a stakeholder consultation in which technology developers were solicited to identify their testing needs, and a gap analysis that clearly demonstrates the ability of PMEC SETS to meet the needs of the industry.

Partners: U.S. Department of EnergyNorthwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, and GL Garrad Hassan

Market Analysis for PMEC Wave Energy Test Facilities – December 2013

Northwest Wave Energy Industry Update

The purpose of this report is to provide current information on the status of the wave energy industry for Northwest power system policy makers, management, and analysts; as well as to pose recommendations for the prudent advancement and support for wave energy commercialization.

Partners: Flink Energy

Northwest Wave Energy Industry Update – October 2015

Oregon Wave Energy Supply Chain Analysis

Partners: U.S. Department of EnergyNorthwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, and Aquatera Ltd

Oregon Wave Energy Supply Chain Analysis- December 2014

Resource Characterization & Value of Energy Model

The overall purpose of this project was to provide a thorough analysis of the variability and predictability of the wave energy resource in a manner that can inform utilities and balancing authorities about the value of the resources, the potential integration costs and methods for managing them. Specific objectives included: ocean energy resource characterization, forecasting analysis and recommendations for the predictability of wave energy in utility terms, and integration costs for wave energy based on the Bonneville Power Administration’s current integration cost methodology.

Partner: Pacific Energy Ventures (PEV)

Wave Energy Utility Integration: Advanced Resource Characterization and Integration Costs and Issues – June 2014

Utility Market Initiative and Roadshow

OWET sought to build and establish understanding between the Northwest’s electric utilities and the ocean energy development community. The UMI project has generated reports that describe the regional energy picture and the region’s approach to long-term resource planning and acquisition – with the purpose of defining how ocean energy fits with the existing and future resource portfolio. Conversely, the program assists the utilities to learn about technologies, the process for moving from pilot to commercial scale, and best practices for developing new projects. Outreach materials were developed and presented to utility companies and other entities throughout the State. A series of six different workshops and meetings were held in southern Oregon, the coast, and the Portland area.

Partner: Pacific Energy Ventures (PEV)

Utility Market Initiative—December 2009
Utility Market Initiative Road Show—March 2011

OWET has commissioned the creation of information tools for developers and stakeholders navigating the ocean energy regulatory environment, including the most relevant state and federal requirements, as well as having identified the lead and participating agencies for each authorization required.

Pacific Region Marine Renewables Environmental Regulatory Workshop Report

The Pacific Region Marine Renewables Environmental Regulatory Workshop was held in conjunction with the 11th Annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in Portland, Oregon, on September 21, 2016 in response to frustrations and concerns expressed by members of the marine renewable energy (MRE) industry about permitting processes for MRE development being long, drawn out, challenging, and expensive, even for very small devices and pilot-scale deployments.

Partners: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, H.T. Harvey & Associates

Pacific Region Marine Renewables Environmental Regulatory Workshop Report – March 2017

Cumulative Effects

OWET commissioned the development of the Cumulative Effects Framework (Framework), which includes detailed modeling of coastal, mid-depth and offshore ocean energy device suitability and the development of conceptual models and model algorithms for additional resources of value, including whales, sea lions, fishing and more. Phase II built upon this foundation, and produced a working Framework with expanded capabilities and an improved user experience. This final phase of development will include maintaining, updating and improving the data and models that make up the Framework, to improve and increase its applicability to siting marine renewable energy devices.

Partners: Aquatera, Parametrix

Cumulative Effects Phase One—April 2010
Cumulative Effects Phase Two—April 2012

Marine Spatial Planning Engagement

Oregon completed a first-in-the-nation plan for developing ocean energy in the state’s waters. That plan, called the Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), governs the locations and conditions under which an ocean energy project may move forward in Oregon.

OWET provided funding for several organizations to participate in the process.

Grantees included:

  • Southern Oregon Ocean Resource Coalition (SOORC)
  • Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT)
  • Fishermen’s Information Service for Housing Confidential Release and Essential Distribution (FISHCRED)
  • Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA)

Partners: Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association (OCZMA), Southern Oregon Ocean Resource Coalition (SOORC), Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT), Parametrix, and Fishermen’s Information Service for Housing Confidential Release and Essential Distribution (FISHCRED)

Oregon MarineMap

Oregon MarineMap (OMM) is a web-based decision support tool that is used by resource managers, scientists, stakeholders, and the public to conduct and facilitate participatory coastal and marine spatial planning in the Oregon Territorial Sea.

Partner: Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development (ODLCD)


Wave Energy Regulatory Analysis and Framework

A team of experts was selected to develop a coordinated siting protocol to enhance state and federal licensing processes to encompass renewable ocean energy development. This project identified existing regulations and provided recommendations for better coordination among stakeholders, including ocean use and environmental regulating bodies and ocean energy developers. An inventory was developed of applicable state and federal laws, roadmap of existing regulatory processes, and summary of issues and limitations. The framework development included identifying and analyzing key issues to be addressed under each category, summarizing existing information, and actively reaching out to stakeholders to review the existing information and identify key information gaps.

Partner: Pacific Energy Ventures (PEV)

Wave Energy Development in Oregon: Licensing & Permitting Requirements – July 2009
Wave Energy Development in Oregon: Issues & Limitations, Preferred Practices & Policy Considerations – September 2009
West Coast Wave Energy Planning & Assessments Framework: Assessment of Information and Approaches for Ocean Renewable Energy Siting and Planning – December 2011