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Scottish firm interested in harnessing Oregon wave energy

Feb 18, 2007 The Associated Press

A Scottish firm is the second company to express interest in harnessing wave energy along the Douglas County coastline.

David Langston, business development manager for Wavegen, told county Commissioners Marilyn Kittelman and Joe Laurance that his company is interested in exploring development of a shore-based energy converter near the south jetty at Winchester Bay.

Wavegen is owned by Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation a partnership between two of Germanys industrial giants. It has produced electricity by harnessing wave energy since 2000.

It operates a plant and test facility on the island of Islay, off Scotland's west coast. A column of water inside a chamber moves up and down from the action of the waves, which, in turn, produces electricity. Voith Siemens produces 31 percent of the worlds water-based electricity, Langston said.

The company produces 14 gigawatts at a plant in Brazil and another 18 gigawatts at the massive Three Gorges Dam in China.

He said his company is interested in developing developing new technologies but that those are expensive and take time to become viable.

Existing technologies are competitive, and new ones would have trouble at first competing with organizations and companies doing major projects, Langston said.

A New Jersey company, Ocean Power Technologies, wants to locate a series of electricity-producing buoys in the Pacific Ocean northwest of Winchester Bay. The buoys, which would be tethered about three miles off shore, would produce electricity through the pounding action of waves.

Langston said his company would need no undersea cables or moorings and would have no visual impact.


Updated: 2003/07/28