U.S. DOE Secretary: Wave energy is ‘the elixir that we need’

Wave energy is “the elixir that we need” to address climate change by ending the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, said the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm during the visit to the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University (OSU).

Granholm, together with Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown, visited the wave energy laboratory on 9 August and discussed the future of green energy.

Courtesy of Oregon State University

The visit was organized by OSU and the Pacific Marine Energy Center, a consortium of universities including Oregon State that is focused on advancing marine renewable energy.

During their visit, the secretary, senators and governor heard updates on PacWave, Oregon State’s open-ocean wave energy test facility to be constructed 7 miles off the Oregon Coast south of Newport, and C-Power, an Oregon company that makes marine energy power generation devices.

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The state and federal leaders also heard presentations on the use of autonomous underwater robots, which are seen as the key to safely inspecting and maintaining undersea generation equipment.

“We’ve all been in the ocean”, Granholm told a group of OSU researchers and students after touring the lab’s wave basin and flume. “We’ve all felt the energy it has. That energy can be used to turn on the lights in our homes. Those waves never stop moving.”

“As a land grant institution, Oregon State University takes on society’s most pressing issues, like climate change by coming up with clean energy solutions”, OSU Interim President Becky Johnson told the state and federal leaders. “I am proud of our marine energy research and development initiatives, which are only possible because of the support we receive at the federal and state levels.”

Moreover, Senator Wyden pledged to make collaboration, research and federal investment priorities in advancing wave energy development. 

Senator Merkley added that “wind, solar and wave energy show enormous potential. We have some of the best locations for wave power, and we need facilities like this lab and PacWave to develop the technologies for harvesting it. My hope is that 10 years from now wave energy is a real thing.”

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