Ocean Power Technologies (OPT), a New Jersey wave power company developing a wave energy park off of Reedsport, Oregon announced today a settlement agreement with 11 federal and state agencies and three non-governmental stakeholders around this project. This agreement marks what is said to be a major step towards the grant of the first license ever issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a commercial-scale wave power project in the US.
OPT said this settlement, which was reached after extensive technical, policy, and legal discussions regarding appropriate prevention, mitigation and enhancement measures, and study requirements, moves forward somewhat its development of a 10-PowerBuoy, 1.5 megawatt capacity wave energy station in a manner that “protects ocean resources and stakeholder interests.” A FERC license has yet to be issued, however, and additional funding will also need to be secured by the company before it can bring its 10-buoy farm online to supply clean energy to around 1,000 homes.
OPT added that this agreement covers a broad array of resource areas including aquatic resources, water quality, recreation, public safety, crabbing and fishing, terrestrial resources, and cultural resources. Concerns in particular have been raised about projects like this in the past around potential issues of altered aquatic living patterns and such, and the company believes it can develop this wave park in a sustainable manner which address any potential concerns.
“This agreement demonstrates OPT’s commitment to develop wave power in a way that respects the environment and the needs of all who rely on ocean resources for many different uses, said Dr. George W. Taylor, Executive Chairman of OPT, in a statement. “It shows how the private sector can work together effectively with federal, state, municipal and local groups to attain important common goals of sustainable development. Wave energy has the potential to create manufacturing jobs in America, while providing low-cost clean, environmentally benign electricity to help replace the use of fossil fuels.”