Dr Burke Hales, Professor OSU, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, gave a truly fascinating talk about PacWave, and the challenges and opportunities of tapping ocean waves for renewable energy.
The PacWave project, to be built off the Oregon coast near Newport, will facilitate and speed up the development of new technology to harness the motion of ocean waves to generate electricity. Prototype wave converters must be tested under real conditions. The U.S. Department of Energy is spending 80 million dollars to construct the PacWave test facility 7 miles off the coast of Newport. It will involve a 2-square mile patch of ocean that will include four berths where prototype wave converters can be installed and connected to buried cables carrying electricity onshore. Our speaker, Dr. Hales, is Chief Scientist of the testing facility and will explain how this technology could someday provide a major source of clean energy for our region.