file Anchor Ship 013.jpg

In 2011, The cargo vessel Fairlane is docked at the Roseburg Forest Products chip terminal site on the North Spit to unload the three large anchors that were used in preparation for the first test wave bouy off the coast near Reedsport.

World Photo by Lou Sennick

REEDSPORT — An anchor float for a wave energy company’s test buoy may be missing off the Oregon coast. 

Ocean Power Technologies installed an anchor for a PB150 PowerBuoy wave energy system about 2.5 miles offshore last fall. Two more anchors were scheduled for installation this spring. But now the company says it's uncertain of the position of the first anchor’s subsurface float. 

The float, which is designed to be located at a depth of approximately 30 feet, serves as an intermediary between the buoy and a 450-ton anchor on the sandy sea floor. It’s also the company’s main way to keep track of the anchor.

“We’re not certain of its disposition,” said CEO Charles Dunleavy.

The company did not give an exact cost for the anchoring system.

The float’s disappearance could have several explanations.

It could indicate a shift in position of the anchor. Another possibility is that the tendon line connecting the float to the anchor has become fouled, pulling the float downward. 

Dunleavy said the company will send down a remotely operated vehicle to check on the device.

The buoy system is intended to be the first of 10 OPT plans to install off Reedsport. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued OPT a 35-year license for a wave energy park in August. 

At the time of licensing, the company had spent approximately $9 million on the project, which if completed would be the first commercial wave energy farm in the country.

Dunleavy said OPT plans to place a marker buoy above the float’s approximate location within the next week.

Reporter Thomas Moriarty can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or by email at thomas.moriarty@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriarty.

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