Permitting Process

While the Pacific Marine Energy Center’s North Energy Test Site (NETS) and infrastructure are fully permitted, developers who wish to test wave energy conversion devices (WECs) at NETS will need to provide certain plans and information to document compliance with test center standards and regulatory requirements. Through our work developing NETS, NNMREC has established a streamlined process available to WEC developers. The overall process and general timeframe is depicted in the graphic.


Permitting Materials

NNMREC can assist developers in completing most of the required information and supporting documentation, with exception of specific technology descriptions and drawings. The permitting process involves extensive engagement with agencies and stakeholders, so it is advisable to start as early as possible. 

NNMREC has developed close relationships with all stakeholders, including federal and state agency partners, the local community, fishing interests including Fishermen Involved in Natural Energy (FINE), municipal government, etc.  These relationships represent a valuable asset for developers who might wish to test at NETS.

Complete permit applications and supporting documentation should be submitted at least six months prior to the desired deployment date.  The permits, agencies and application materials are summarized in the table.  Additional, detailed information about the permitting process and documentation is available upon request.


Environmental Monitoring & Adaptive Mitigation Plans

One of the most significant benefits to using NETS is that NNMREC has conducted comprehensive environmental monitoring and analysis in and around the test site, and this environmental documentation may be used to inform environmental evaluation during the permitting process and fulfill regulatory requirements for environmental monitoring. Currently, NNMREC is conducting long term environmental monitoring studies focused on:

  • Benthic organisms and habitat
  • Marine mammals
  • Entangled/injured species
  • Derelict gear
  • Acoustics
  • Electromagnetic fields

The monitoring studies underway at NETS should meet the requirements for most WEC tests, so these study plans may be used to fulfill the environmental monitoring required by the permitting process. If additional environmental studies are required for a WEC test, NNMREC is in a unique position to help developers as we are part of Oregon State University, and as such, can tap into the scientific expertise that exists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

In addition to environmental monitoring, an Adaptive Management Framework is in place at NETS to help manage uncertainties associated with potential effects of wave energy devices. As part of the Adaptive Management Framework, an Adaptive Mitigation Plan (AMP) is developed for each WEC test that includes thresholds and mitigation actions for the particular WEC device. NNMREC can assist developers in preparing and implementing the Adaptive Mitigation Plan for their device to fulfill regulatory requirements associated with the environmental review process.

Permitting Information and Resources

US Army Corps of Engineers: Permitting Information

OR Department of State Lands: Removal-Fill Guide

OR Department of State Lands: Joint Application Completeness Checklist

US Army Corps of Engineers: 2012 Nationwide (NWP) Regional Permit Conditions Portland District