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Oregon trust releases infrastructure study, offers wave grants

Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) announces release of the Wave Energy Infrastructure Assessment in Oregon, intended to assess infrastructure needs of ocean renewable energy in Oregon and compare them against the state's existing and planned infrastructure capabilities.

OWET's mission is to serve as a connector and facilitator for all stakeholders involved in wave energy project development and to ensure the responsible development of this energy technology.

The 130-page report is divided into five sections:

– Technology overview, focusing on off-, near-, and onshore devices;

– Infrastructure needs, describing needs for each of the wave energy types, plus a discussion of test center needs;

– Infrastructure capabilities, summarizing the manufacturing, transportation, assembly, deployment, maintenance, and retrieval capabilities Oregon has to meet the needs of developers;

– Gap analysis, assessing the capabilities and gaps relative to the needs of wave energy developers; and

– Summary and recommendations, identifying prioritized steps that can be taken by various stakeholder groups to take advantage of or improve upon the infrastructure capability in the state.

The report concludes that many of the infrastructure jobs resulting from the development of wave energy in Oregon will be sporadic in the early stages. In addition, the report identifies a set of prioritized, recommended actions to resolve infrastructure gaps and support the development of wave energy products and services in Oregon.

Newport, Ore.-based Advanced Research Corp. completed the assessment.

To download the report, visit www.oregonwave.org/our-work-overview/market-development.

Two wave energy grants

OWET will provide a matching grant to any successful applicant to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) who performs a significant portion of the proposed project in Oregon. The OWET matching grant will equal 20 percent of the DOE grant, up to $100,000.

DOE's recent FOA has made up to $38 million available over the next three years for marine hydrokinetic research and development. OWET hopes to improve the chances of Oregon's homegrown wave industry, as well as attract companies from other parts of the country and world.

In total, $400,000 is available for the OWET matching grant program. Recipients will receive a commitment letter from OWET that the recipient can provide to DOE.

OWET offers another matching grant program that provides two funding possibilities – commercial scale project development grants and feasibility study grants, OWET announced.

In total, $500,000 is available, with $300,000 designated for commercial scale projects and up to $200,000 designated for feasibility studies.

The solicitation process closes April 30, 2011, or when all funds have been committed.

For more about the matching grant program, e-mail info@oregonwave.org or visit www.oregonwave.org.

U.S., California to coordinate hydrokinetic project review

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the state of California have agreed to coordinate procedures and schedules for reviewing hydrokinetic energy projects in state waters of California. FERC has reached similar agreements with Maine, Washington, and Oregon.

FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said the agreement shows FERC's continuing commitment to work with states to advance clean, renewable hydrokinetic technologies.

FERC and California's Natural Resources Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and Public Utilities Commission agreed:

– Each will notify the other when one becomes aware of a potential applicant for a preliminary permit, pilot project license, or license;

– The parties will agree upon a schedule for processing applications, including milestones for FERC and California to complete their processes. They also will encourage other federal agencies and stakeholders to comply with the schedule;

– They will coordinate environmental reviews of any proposed projects and will consult with stakeholders, including project developers, on the design of studies and environmental matters; and

– They will encourage applicants to seek pilot project licenses prior to full commercial licenses, to allow for testing of devices before commercial deployment.

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