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Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site.
Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site.
(Source: Oregon State University)

Project Summary

Faculty and staff in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University are developing the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site (PacWave)—a grid-connected test facility—to evaluate utility-scale wave energy converter (WEC) performance, environmental interactions, and survivability. Intended to be the first of its kind in the United States, PacWave, will support the development and deployment of innovative marine energy systems, with the potential to be cost competitive with other forms of electricity generation.

Project Snapshot
Project TitleEnabling Cost Effective Electricity from Ocean Waves: PacWave
AwardeeOregon State University
Awardee HQ LocationOregon
DOE Funding Amount$60,468,486
Awardee Cost Share$12,455,433
Program AreaMHK Testing Infrastructure
Recipient TypeUniversity
Award TypeCompetitive Funding Opportunity Announcement
Year Awarded2016
Work LocationsCalifornia, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, United Kingdom
Funding OpportunityFY 2016 Wave Energy Test Facility
Congressional District(s)CA-18, CO-7, NE-2, OR-3, OR-4, OR-5, TX-8


What You Need to Know


The high cost of in-water testing is a major challenge for device developers in the United States. The PMEC-SETS facility will serve as an integrated test center for wave energy developers to economically evaluate performance and ecosystem impacts of a utility-scale marine energy systems. At PMEC-SETS, developers will have the opportunity to optimize their devices and arrays, as well as to learn about deployment, retrieval, operations, and maintenance. Additionally, PMEC-SETS will serve as a potential training ground for future jobs in the ocean energy industry. 

  • Reduce costs and time for permits, licenses, and testing, and reduce monitoring and deployment costs throughout the project life.
  • Enable technology developers to prove device performance in dynamic wave environments for long periods of time-thereby, demonstrating technical viability, determining methods for cost reduction, and advancing technologies toward cost-effective power delivery and commercial readiness.
  • Provide a suite of technical contractors and prospective employees to support industry needs for marine and hydrokinetic research and development.
  • Provide the only U.S. site for utility-scale WEC array demonstration and development.
  • Inform sound decisions about marine renewable energy development industry-wide by increasing the understanding of potential effects.
  • Complete permitting and design of the test site.
  • Begin and conclude facility construction.
  • Commence facility operation, maintenance, and testing.

Project Partners

European Marine Energy Centre
Program support for environmental monitoring data management, quality standards, safety procedures, O&M protocols, business development, and more
Aquatera, Ltd.
Program support for quality standards, safety procedures, O&M protocols, best practices, and business development and sustainable operations
Pacific Energy Ventures
Permitting, grid interconnection, and business development and sustainable operations
3U Technologies
Subsea cables and connectors
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Grid interconnection, quality standards, safety procedures, O&M protocols, best practices, and business development and sustainable operations
Williwaw Engineering
Electrical infrastructure design, grid interconnection
H.T. Harvey & Associates
Permitting and ecological support
Stoel Rives

About the Water Power Technologies Office

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office advances cutting-edge technology to modernize the U.S. hydropower fleet and drive U.S. leadership in wave and tidal energy, with the goal of delivering low-cost power and resiliency to America’s power grids.