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Waldport's Driftwood Beach Parking to Close for Oregon Coast Wave Energy Project Work

Published 05/08/21 at 5:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Waldport's Driftwood Beach Parking to Close for Oregon Coast Wave Energy Project Work

(Waldport, Oregon) – A much-loved beach on the central Oregon coast will not be as easily accessible for awhile, as Driftwood Beach State Recreation Site’s parking area will close down as early as June 1 for work constructing part of a massive wave energy project. Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) announced this week that Oregon State University (OSU), which is running the project, will hold two virtual town halls on Monday, May 10 to explain the gigantic test endeavor.

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It's unknown for how long the parking lot will be closed. The beach remains open, as well as a restroom nearby.

Driftwood Beach, about a mile north of Waldport, will be cut off from any easy access – the nearest public accesses on either side are about a mile away. However, OPRD said parking and beach access are available at multiple nearby state parks including Seal Rock State Recreation Site, Governor Patterson Memorial State Recreation Site and Brian Booth State Park, which are all less than five miles from Driftwood Beach. Although the Driftwood Beach parking area will be closed, an on-site restroom will be available outside the construction area.

Initial work is being done on the OSU PacWave South wave energy test site, with the onshore components being connected to the offshore facility in this spot. There are two areas off the central Oregon coast where the PacWave testing will be done. Near Waldport is the southern spot, while another near Newport is the northern rigging.

The work being done here includes horizontal directional drilling deep beneath the park and ocean shore. Later subsea cable installation work will primarily be between 1 and 7 miles offshore.

PacWave South is the first marine renewable energy research lease the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued in federal waters off the West Coast. It will cost an estimated $80 million. The central Oregon array is a full-scale, utility grid-connected wave energy test site, designed to allow wave energy developers the opportunity to test different technologies for harnessing the energy of ocean waves.

OSU said wave energy has the potential to provide clean, reliable electricity to meet the world’s rising energy demands. Globally, the marine energy market is projected to reach nearly $700 billion by 2050, and the World Energy Council estimates that 10% of the worldwide electricity demand could be met by harvesting ocean energy.

The PacWave ocean test site will be located about seven miles offshore on a sandy-bottomed stretch of the Pacific Ocean away from popular commercial and recreational fishing reefs. The ocean site will have four different testing “berths,” which combined can accommodate up to 20 total wave energy devices at any one time. Five power and data cables buried below the seafloor will connect the ocean test site to a shoreside facility southeast of Seal Rock.

The virtual town halls are set for:

Town Hall Meeting #1 on May 10, 2021 at 1 p.m.: https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/93265505728

Town Hall Meeting #2 on May 10, 2021 at 6 p.m.: https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/94557740261

More information about the town halls and how to attend are available at http://pacwaveenergy.org/, under the Construction Update section. The town halls will include construction updates and public question-and-answer sessions. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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