US Wave Energy Testing Set To Hit The Surf

The location of the grid-connected platform is assumed to be the same as the Ocean Sentinel, but additional customer surveys and discussions may result in a change of siting. Like the Scottish test platform, it will consist of multiple berths to allow for the concurrent testing and demonstration of different technologies.

oregon wave energy test center

image via Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center

Wave energy technology remains at a nascent stage in the U.S., in part because of the high cost of testing new devices. Unlike wind or solar, wave capture devices are at the mercy of the oceans. Even so, a huge array of prototype devices have been emerging in recent years.

One of the most successful so far was developed by the Scottish firm Pelamis, whose giant wave machines long tubular design has led to them becoming known as “sea snakes”.

Their success has led to a string of high-profile energy companies ordering the devices and in 2008, Pelamis created the world’s first commercial-scale wave-power station off the Portuguese coast.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.


  • Reply May 7, 2012

    Phil Kithil

    Saying the Pelamis is successful shows the author has not done homework. It is the most expensive of the better-known devices, and is not likely to become commercial.

  • Reply August 26, 2012


    I am a mechanical engineering type that has visualization abilities with a Plastics/Metals fabrication background. For many years I have thought about the pull on the tides by our moon as a source for generating electricity. I would very much like to get involved in this project. I live in Hillsboro Oregon (a relatively short drive from Newport), and I’m also an open water SCUBA diver. Any suggestions as to what’s needed and who to contact will be much appreciated. Currently looking for work anyway, and willing to start as cleaning crew just to get close to this project and it’s visionary people ! thanks for publishing this.

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