Photo: PacWave South test site location (Courtesy of OSU)

PacWave wave energy test site readies offshore infrastructure for subsea cables

The developers of the PacWave South wave energy test site have installed four steel conduits under the seafloor offshore Oregon that will house subsea cables for linking the site with the mainland.

PacWave South test site location (Courtesy of OSU)
PacWave South test site location (Courtesy of OSU)

After 163 days of horizontal directional drilling operations, the installation of all four of the PacWave South offshore conduits has been successfully completed, according to Oregon State University (OSU), which is developing the site in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

“With over 1.25 million lbs. of steel conduit installed, totaling over 6.4 kilometers in length, it has been a massive undertaking. A sincere congratulations to all those involved, especially the construction crews who have worked tirelessly for months on end, most recently in extremely challenging conditions, to safely complete this phase of the work. Our focus now switches to the terrestrial bore”, the developers said.

Each steel conduit is around 1-mile long and 10-inch in diameter, and runs under the seafloor out from Driftwood Beach State Recreation Site in Seal Rock.

In mid-2023, subsea cables will be installed in the conduits to carry power and data from the test site to shore. Once the cables are installed, the final placement of the conduits will be below the seafloor, according to OSU.

The PacWave South test facility will be located about 11 kilometers off the coast of Newport in Oregon.

OSU was granted a lease for the site from The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in early 2021 as the first marine renewable energy research lease in federal waters to be issued for a wave energy project.

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PacWave South will be the first commercial-scale, utility grid-connected wave energy test site in the United States.

The approximately $80 million facility will offer wave energy developers the opportunity to try different technologies for harnessing the power of ocean waves and transmitting that energy to the local electrical grid.

PacWave South is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the state of Oregon and other public and private entities.