PacWave construction site a sunset

Benton County – Harnessing the Power of Ocean Waves

In the surf at Driftwood Beach, ocean waves tumble dozens of heavy, sun-bleached logs into untidy piles. It is a small demonstration of the ocean’s endless energy, which could soon power Oregon homes and businesses, thanks in part to a $250,000 Business Oregon grant made possible by your Lottery play.

Oregon State University-led project PacWave is building the first commercial-scale, grid-connected wave energy test site in the US, and one of few in the world. Two offshore sites, one near Driftwood Beach and the other near Newport, will connect to shore-based facilities and test the viability of wave-energy prototypes. If any prototypes are successful, ocean waves could become the latest, usable form of marine energy and yet another alternative to nonrenewable, fossil-fueled power.

Photos courtesy of PacWave

The Challenges of Ocean Power

Engineering and the ocean don’t get along very well. Salt, extreme weather, and pounding waves challenge the durability of even the best technology, which is why viable wave energy has struggled to get off the ground. PacWave’s testing site will be ground zero for marine-energy innovation. Companies from all over the world will be able to use the testing site to develop and improve on prototypes and designs – boosting Oregon’s economy in the process.

A dog at the office

Oregon Businesses Playing It Forward

Want to see more examples of your play funding Oregon’s economy? Learn how Bend-based company Ruffwear built a co-working space for outdoor gear startups.

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