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U.S.’s own grid-connected marine energy testing site planned

Wave energy nonprofit Oregon Wave and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center have begun negotiations with the European Marine Energy Centre to plan a grid-connected ocean energy test facility to be called the Pacific Marine Energy Center.

The project, which makes it a United States version of the key European facility for marine energy development, addresses the absence of standardized testing facilities which has been identified as a key barrier to the development of the marine energy industry.

It will demonstrate the viability of marine energy off the northwest coast of the U.S. The Pacific Marine Energy Center would offer up to four test berths connected to the regional grid once it is built, each with the capacity of testing devices of up to 1 megawatt of output.

By offering numerous device-testing options in conjunction with transmission and grid interconnection infrastructure, the project will facilitate wave energy technologies' progress from early-stage ocean testing through final demonstration for commercialization.

Oregon Wave's goal is to help in powering two Oregon communities with ocean energy by 2025.

The planned center will partner with ocean energy company Aquatera, which has worked with Oregon Wave previously, and environmental management firm Ecology and Environment, Inc.

The Scotland-based European Marine Energy Centre, established in 2003, is the first of its kind to offer wave and tidal energy developers independently accredited, purpose-built test facilities in the marine conditions of Orkney.

With 14 full-scale grid-connected test berths, it is home to some of the most innovative marine energy devices currently in development, with more full-scale devices having been tested at EMEC than at any other single site in the world. – EcoSeed Staff

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