Test buoy for wave energy sinks off Oregon coast
The first wave energy test buoy deployed off the Oregon Coast is now 150 feet below the ocean surface. Mike Clark, a spokesman for Finavera...
The Associated Press
NEWPORT, Ore. — The first wave energy test buoy deployed off the Oregon Coast is now 150 feet below the ocean surface.
Mike Clark, a spokesman for Finavera Renewables, a Canadian energy developer, said the 72-foot-tall buoy began taking on water late last week and sank just one day before engineers were going to remove it.
The company plans to recover the $2 million buoy next spring, when the ocean calms, Clark told The Oregonian newspaper.
The device was deployed off Agate Beach in early September and Finavera has been collecting information from it by computer. Clark said the data will be used to develop the next buoy.
"From our perspective it doesn't hamper the development of the technology at all," Clark said. "This device was going to be broken down anyway and was not going to be put back out in the water."
Finavera buoys use the vertical power of rising and falling waves to drive sea water through an onboard turbine, which generates electricity. If things go according to plan, clusters of the buoys would be linked to electrical cables on the sea floor, which in turn would plug into the onshore power grid.
Clark said the underwater buoy poses no threat to the environment.
"Part of the benefit of the design of the device is there are no hydraulic oils," Clark said. "There is little if any environmental impact from having this down there. Basically it is metal with a piece of rubber hose in it."
But Al Pazar, chairman of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, said the mishap validates the concerns of the fishing industry.
"We've got a big chunk of iron laying at the bottom of the ocean which will probably gobble up a bunch of crab gear," he said. "It's just another place for things to collect and make a big mess."
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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