GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon has adopted a plan laying out four areas for siting wave energy projects so they avoid interfering with fishing, scenic vistas and sensitive marine habitats.
The Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted the amendments to the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan at a meeting in Salem on Thursday. The plan, five years in the making, covers state territorial waters extending three miles off the coastline.
"This balanced proposal shows Oregon can thoughtfully support this emerging and promising industry while protecting our coastal communities' quality of life, our commercial and recreational fisheries, and a coastline that all Oregonians treasure," Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a statement.
Oregon has invested more than $10 million in the Oregon Wave Energy Trust, which funds research and projects to speed development of wave energy in Oregon.
The Oregon coast has become a hotspot for wave power research and development. Waves are bigger on the West Coast than the East Coast by virtue of the prevailing westerly winds, and waves get bigger the farther they are from the equator.
Two of the areas are off Reedsport, where Ocean Power Technologies of Pennington, N.J., has the nation's first federal permit to build a wave energy park. The company planned to deploy the first of 10 buoys this spring. The project would generate electricity for about 1,000 homes from the motion of the waves.