Wave energy project delayed; Bonneville to rebuild lines; Spots some whales; Gas prices down.

27 March 2013

Coast Radio News
Local News

A variety of issues appear to be delaying wave energy project

Financial challenges… governmental regulation and overall business concerns have combined to delay the installation of a wave energy project near Reedsport.

The first of a series of buoys was slated to be installed by Ocean Power Technologies of New Jersey off the Central Oregon Coast at the end of this year.  But, the company’s third quarter financial report notes that is not likely to happen.

The chief blame is going to reporting requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but financial and business concerns were also cited.

OPT received a 35-year license from FERC last year to establish what would be the nation’s first commercial wave energy project.

Other delays have plagued the company’s efforts… in February they reported they could not locate the subsurface float for a buoy anchor that was placed in August of last year, 2 ½ miles offshore near Reedsport.

BPA Seeks Input on Line Replacement

One of the major power conduits feeding the central Oregon Coast is slated for an upgrade in the near future.  The Bonneville Power Administration is working on plans to replace the 65-year old Lane-Wendson transmission line between the Willamette Valley and the Florence area.

Project manager Richard Heredia says the public will play a vital role in helping his agency make well-informed decisions about the project.  They’re holding a pair of public forums next week seeking input from residents about potential impacts.

The original lines were put in place in 1948 and have received regular maintenance.  But the life expectancy of many components is nearing the end.

The current right of way will be followed for the most part, but BPA may move the route in some stretches.

The first of the forums will be Tuesday, April 2nd from five to 7 pm at the Florence Events Center.  The second will be the following evening in Veneta.

Gas Prices Down

Prices at the pump have inched down for the second week running.  The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline dipped by three cents this week to $3.66; the Oregon average, as measured by Triple-A came down four cents to$3.74.

Locally the average fell by a nickel a gallon and lies between the two… it’s at $3.68.

All averages are well below where they were a year ago when Oregon’s average was $4.06 and the Florence average was $3.99.

Spot Some Whales

Spring break half over and there are still plenty of low or no-cost activities available to keep the kids occupied.

One of those is whale watching… 24 locations up and down the Oregon Coast feature volunteers between ten am and one pm daily through Saturday.

Those volunteers have been specially trained to help visitors spot some of the estimated 18-thousand gray whales that pass north along the Oregon Coast this time of year to fertile feeding areas in Alaska’s Bering Sea.

The morning conditions have been so-so for spotting the large mammals with cloudy conditions making it difficult to find the gray spouts against the gray sky.

But, with clearing conditions later in the day, the bright blue backdrop of sky has provided a good contrast to make the breaching whales and spouts easier to locate.