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February 12, 2013

Port firm gets OK to test wave energy device in Alaska


The project involves a 25-square-mile area within submerged lands off Yakutat, a remote community in the southeast portion of Alaska.

RME senior engineer and project manager Clifford Goudey said, “With this FERC approval we can begin the studies and the planning that are necessary to design the project and to prepare the needed application for a FERC license to operate.

“We need to characterize the wave resource in detail and engineer a system that will provide the most benefit to the community by alleviating its current dependence upon its diesel-powered generating plant.”

Goudey, who until recently was a member of the Newburyport Waterfront Trust, said that one challenge is to place the company’s hardware under the ocean’s waves but avoid inundation by masses of moving sand.

Planners must also ensure that wildlife is not threatened.

Municipal and energy officials in Alaska appear to be supportive of the potential energy source.

In a statement, Scott Newlun, general manager of Yakutat Power, said, “Today we’re totally at the mercy of the price of diesel fuel. We see a huge energy resource going to waste over on Cannon Beach and hope this project brings sustainable power to Yakutat and eases the cost of energy on our ratepayers.”

RME in recent months has carried out tests of its devices off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

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