Oregon: For a full-scale wave energy resource, the PMEC North Energy Test Site (NETS) can accommodate devices up to 100kW connected to the Ocean Sentinel, and larger devices if no grid emulation or connection is required. The PMEC South Energy Test Site (SETS) is a grid-connected site currently under development and will serve as the utility-scale wave energy test facility for the US; it is expected to be available for device testing in 2017.
Washington: For intermediate scale wave energy devices, UW supports open water testing in Puget Sound and in Lake Washington. These environments provide for 1/7th scale WEC testing versus Pacific Ocean open-ocean conditions, and are available from October through March.
Alaska: The Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC) has established the Tanana River Test Site, which is now part of PMEC. The Tanana River Test Site preforms many functions, including testing hydrokinetic power-generating devices and measuring environmental characteristics.
Oregon State University: The Wallace Energy Systems and Renewable Facility houses the Wave Energy Linear Test Bed. It enables dynamic testing by using captured wave profiles while simulating the hydrodynamic force of ocean waves. The two wave tanks at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory – the Large Wave Flume and the directional Tsunami Wave Basin – allow for testing of scaled WECs.
University of Washington: The Aeronautical Laboratory maintains a flume suitable for scale testing of current turbines. The Harris Hydraulics Laboratory is in the process of upgrading its combined wind/wave channel (available late-2015) suitable for scale testing of wave energy devices and mooring systems.
NNMREC is currently in the permitting phase to develop the South Energy Test Site (SETS). SETS will feature full-scale, grid-connected testing capabilities. SETS will include multiple berths, and will be a leading source of research, which will help to answer some of the core questions concerning the industry.
PMEC-SETS will be the NNMREC facility where developers can test utility scale Wave Energy Converters (WECs) in the ocean with a connection to the electric utility grid via a subsea cable; four berths are planned. The facility will allow WEC devices to be certified to IEEE and other international standards. PMEC-SETS is being designed to accommodate single devices, or small arrays in a berth. The anticipated depth range for PMEC-SETS is 65-78 meters (MLLW).
Learn more about SETS here!
Since summer 2012, NNMREC has operated an open ocean test site off the coast at Newport, OR, north of Yaquina Head. This site is 1 square nautical mile, between 2 and 3 nautical miles from shore in Oregon’s territorial sea. At this site, developers can conduct self-contained tests of their devices or connect to the Ocean Sentinel instrumentation buoy, NNMREC’s mobile ocean test buoy.
The test site is not grid connected, meaning the power does not come back to shore. Instead, the wave energy device is connected to OSU’s Ocean Sentinel buoy. This vessel-shaped buoy is attached to the wave energy device by a cable. The Ocean Sentinel has an onboard resistor element, which will consume the power generated by the device, similar to the type of resistor element in electric heaters. It will also measure the amount of power generated and the characteristics of wave, wind, and currents.
The Ocean Sentinel is typically stationed 2.5 nautical miles offshore from Yaquina Head, north of Newport. The wave energy converters (WECs) being tested and the Ocean Sentinel itself are moored with approximately 125 meters separation, and connected by a power and communication umbilical cable. The Ocean Sentinel can accommodate WECs with average power outputs of up to 100 kW. NETS is currently capable of testing from May through September, with an excellent portfolio of capabilities to research all aspects of technology development (technology, environment, social). Devices can continue to operate in the ocean test site throughout the year to study other aspects of their devices, such as survivability, biofouling, mooring and anchoring, environmental effect, and other important aspects of their technologies.
NNMREC’s ocean test site ranges in depth from 45 to 55m. It has a gently sloping sandy bottom. Significant wave heights (SWH) average 1 - 2.5m during summer months at 6 - 9 second energy periods. During winter months these increase to SWH averaging 2 - 5m at 8 - 12 second energy periods, with maximum significant wave heights of 7 - 14m.
NNMREC has characterized the environmental conditions of the site, and has conducted a significant level of environmental monitoring, including baseline studies for benthic habitat, marine mammal observations, electromagnetic frequency studies (EMF), and acoustics. The site is fully permitted through the NEPA process, Department of State Lands, the US Coast Guard, and the Army Corp of Engineers.
Click here to learn more about the Ocean Sentinel Instrumentation Buoy.
The Tanana River Test Site (pictured here) was established by the Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC). The Tanana River Test Site is available for testing of hydrokinetic devices, infrastructure and environmental monitoring techniques between May and September each year. Additionally, NNMREC experts at UAF are available to carry out or assist with hydrological and environmental measurements including measurements of mean flow, turbulent fluctuations, bathymetric surveys, fisheries interaction monitoring and device power performance.
Please click here to learn more!
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The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is a leading center for research and education in coastal engineering and nearshore science with facilities that include a Large Wave Flume (104 m long), Tsunami Wave Basin with multi-directional wavemaker, and control room for on-site researchers. The Large Wave Flume is the largest of its kind in North America. Tsunami Wave Basin is equipped with a large-stroke, directional wavemaker with active wave absorption. These facilities have been used to test 1:15 and 1:33 scale wave energy converters, respectively.
The WESRF provides research, testing and services related to machines and drives, power electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, power systems and renewables. WESRF is the home of the Linear Test Bed, an instrument that creates the relative motion between a spar and heaving buoy to simulate wave action. Eleven wave energy device prototypes have been tested on the Linear Test Bed.
The Aeronautical Laboratory maintains a flume suitable for scale testing of current turbines. The Harris Hydraulics Laboratory is in the process of upgrading its combined wind/wave channel (available late-2015) suitable for scale testing of wave energy devices and mooring systems.