Underground engineering completed on Oregon wave energy test facility

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Jacobs completes underground infrastructure engineering for first full-scale wave energy test facility in the US.

Jacobs has completed the underground infrastructure engineering for the PacWave South commercial-scale, ocean wave energy testing facility. The underground project links ocean to onshore utility-grid connection and monitoring facility and supports renewable new energy technology, security and energy transition efforts.

The project in Seal Rock, Oregon, will be the first pre-permitted, full-scale test facility for wave energy devices in the US and was delivered for Oregon State University. Jacobs led the engineering services for the HDD Company, the design-build contractor for the project, to support the evaluation and testing of new energy generation technologies to turn offshore ocean waves to onshore renewable electricity.

PacWave South allows up to 20 wave energy converters of various designs to be tested in real-world, open-sea conditions seven miles off Oregon’s coast. The project includes four offshore steel conduits up to 120 feet below the seafloor and extending a mile offshore, connecting to a bundle of five onshore high-density polyethylene conduits, all installed using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methods and ultimately connecting to PacWave’s utility connection and monitoring facility. The HDD method was chosen to avoid disturbing sensitive wetlands and beach areas and because it allowed the work to be conducted year-round.

“The engineering for this project was complex, requiring our team to overcome coastal geology challenges, working in the near-shore environment around sensitive coastal wetlands, and meeting a tight schedule to obtain regulatory approval,” said Jacobs People & Places Solutions senior vice president for global business units Koti Vadlamudi. “This work reaffirms our commitment to working with organisations that push the boundaries of what’s possible to address climate change and build resilient energy transition solutions in our communities,” Vadlamudi said.

PacWave’s deputy director Dan Hellin, said: “Throughout design and construction, the Jacobs team continued to create innovative solutions, bringing value to the community in the development of resilient, sustainable energy sources for the country. For instance, the collaboration on disguising the large concrete vault built at the state park, which was designed to splice and transition energy from offshore to onshore conduits as a reconstructed parking lot, ensured beachgoers would not see any disruption from the added wave energy testing infrastructure.”