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The PB40 "PowerBuoy" prototype in Hawaiian waters is 48 feet long, with a float diameter of 11.5 feet. When deployed, the PowerBuoy is approximately 14 feet above the water. Photo: Ocean Power Technologies www.oceanpower

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A company called Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) says it is developing the first commercial "wave park" on the U.S. West Coast. A "PowerBuoy" wave power generator is planned for at a site 2.5 miles off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.

This green energy concept is based on the simple rise and fall of buoys. The up and down motion of the buoys in the ocean drives plungers connected to hydraulic pumps, which is then converted into electricity.

The Reedsport, Oregon wave park, according to OPT, will consist of 10 PB150 PowerBuoys, the next generation of the prototype, an undersea substation to collect the power, and a submarine cable to deliver the renewable power to the Pacific Northwest electric grid.

The Reedsport wave park project is in the environmental permitting phase. OPT expects to file a final license application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission soon. OPT plans on nine more "PowerBuoy" wave power generators by 2012.

The current PowerBuoy, pun intended, reportedly will generate approximately 4,140 megawatt-hours per year to the Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative, which is enough to power 375 homes.

According to OPT, the PowerBuoy prototype, PB40, has demonstrated over 24 months of successful ocean testing approximately five miles offshore from Tuckerton, New Jersey. The PB40 buoys are also in the waters off Hawaii, Spain and soon to be deployed near the Orkney Isles in Scotland.

OPT also proposes to develop the "first utility scale, commercial wave park in North America" at Coos Bay, Oregon. The company asserts it will be the largest wave energy project in the world, with up to 200 PB150 PowerBuoys and 20 undersea substations.

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June 17, 2019, 8:33 am PDT

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