The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $40 million in available funding to support the site selection, design, permitting, and construction of a national open-water, wave energy testing facility within U.S. federal or state waters. The testing facility will gather critical performance data to address technical risks, lower costs, and inform future designs to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of wave energy technologies in the United States. DOE announced the selection of the OSU-led team to develop the facility in December 2016 and initial operation is expected to begin between 2021–2022 based on material procurement timelines.
PacWave (formally known as the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site) is an Energy Department-funded, grid-connected, full-scale test facility for wave energy conversion technologies—the first of its kind in the United States. The site is currently being developed off the coast of Newport, Oregon, by faculty and staff in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences(CEOAS) and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) at Oregon State University (OSU).
The test facility will be able to accommodate up to twenty wave energy converters (WEC)—devices that convert wave energy into electricity—in four separate test berths simultaneously. Each berth will have a dedicated transmission cable and the site will be generally pre-permitted for a variety of WEC technologies.