Sea Grant Extension helps coastal communities prepare for wave energy development

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This $1.5 million mooring station near Newport helps researchers develop wave energy technology. (Photo by Pat Kight.)

Newport is home to one of the nation's first public wave energy testing sites

Interest in renewable wave energy on the Oregon coast continues to be strong. The long-range goal is to build sufficient wave energy capacity to generate 500 megawatts of power by 2025.

The establishment of this new industry brings with it questions about impacts on offshore areas and onshore communities. Oregon State University's Oregon Sea Grant Extension helps communities address those questions through outreach and engagement activities, and by coordinating the Human Dimensions of Wave Energy research program. Both efforts bring together groups that have a stake in this new use of ocean space, and address questions like: How will wave energy affect commercial and recreational fishers as well as surfers? And how will the development of related infrastructure impact coastal communities?

The goal of Sea Grant Extension’s efforts is to encourage community members, ocean users, energy developers and scientists to share opinions and information, which will lead to better understanding of the political and regulatory processes surrounding wave energy and its environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Source: Flaxen Conway, a community outreach specialist with Oregon Sea Grant Extension; Oregon Wave Energy Trust.

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