Battelle gets $6.8M grant

Ocean energy projects like the one abandoned at Makah Bay seven months ago could be revived with help from a grant to researchers, including those in Sequim.

"The Electric Power Research Institute said the No. 1 challenge for ... new technologies was environmental," said Charlie Brandt, director of Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim.

"This work will help remove the roadblocks that currently prevent developers from putting tidal-, wave- and current-powered machines into the water."

The Sequim lab is part of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which received a three-year $6.8 million grant last month to study environmental impacts of generating electricity from oceans and rivers.

The project will include field tests to investigate what risks these methods pose to the environment and wildlife.

For instance, rays and sharks use electromagnetic fields to locate prey so the impact of electromagnetic fields from power generation must be studied, Brandt said.

Researchers will study how fish and marine mammals are affected directly by noise and being struck by blades of ocean energy devices and whether producing these kinds of power could create "dead zones" by interfering with the ocean's circulation and nutrient patterns.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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