By Steve Benham
SALEM, Ore. – After years of meetings, public testimony and planning, the state of Oregon approved a plan Thursday night that lays out where wave energy companies can locate their projects off its coast.
After taking hours of afternoon public testimony, the state's Land Conservation and Development Commission largely approved the plan the state recommended through the adoption of an amendment to Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan.
That plan notably establishes four areas off the coast called Renewable Energy Facility Suitability Study Areas. Wave energy companies that want to develop projects in those areas will have fewer hurdles to overcome because planners determined there would be less impact on the environment, fishing and marine life at those sites.
Those four areas are off the coasts of Camp Rilea, Nestucca, Reedsport and Lakeside. In total, the plan approves about 22 square miles or about 2 percent of Oregon’s territorial sea as a development area. Companies could also apply for permits in other areas of Oregon’s territorial waters but the approval process would be more rigorous.