The ocean renewable energy industry is approaching the finish line for the siting of projects such as wind or wave energy devices in Oregon’s nearshore ocean. After years of planning and multiple rounds of legislation for the placement of renewable energy projects in Oregon’s ocean waters, the Department of State Lands (DSL) has now begun the home stretch rule-making effort to establish a process for siting these projects. While many research and other energy projects have found a way to experiment in our waters in the meantime, this final process will establish the path for the energy industry more broadly.

A wave energy test buoy floats off the coast of Oregon

A wave energy test buoy floats off the coast of Oregon

It’s been nearly 10 years since the prospect for renewable ocean energy got serious in Oregon and in that time, many projects and research interests have come and many gone. Surfrider worked extensively throughout this time – conducting extensive interviews with recreational users to establish a policy on ocean renewable energy, initiating and publishing an ocean recreational user study to avoid recreational impacts, and we served on the Territorial Sea Planning Statewide Advisory Committee throughout the entire planning process.  While also in that time much renewable energy interests have moved further offshore, those industries still interested in projects in Oregon’s nearshore waters, whether by general authorization or by DSL permit, will soon have the path further paved through this rulemaking effort.
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The Department of State Lands has established a Rule Advisory Committee, which Surfrider Foundation has a seat on to help represent our recreational and environmental constituency. A range of actions from the Territorial Sea Plan amendments themselves to legislation requiring data sharing, financial assurance, civil penalties and agency regulatory roles will be addressed in the efforts of the advisory committee and the agency – the process is public, meeting locations, agenda and information are all posted here (scroll down to bottom) – or contact cplybon@surfrider.org to learn more.