PORTLAND, Oregon, October 16, 2009Oregon Wave Energy Trust recently awarded JASCO Applied Sciences – a leading company in the areas of underwater acoustics and the impact on the environment of noise from industrial operations – a contract to define an operating framework for assessment of underwater noise from wave energy projects.

Plans for wave energy development in the coastal waters of Oregon require the definition of a clear framework for the assessment of potential underwater noise effects from industrial activity on the surrounding ecosystems, thereby allowing regulatory agencies to refer to a standardized set of guidelines for acoustic impact assessment requirements. These will include both the establishing of a seasonal ambient noise baseline and the estimation and later monitoring of underwater noise produced by the construction and operation of the devices. Having an internationally respected independent consulting company develop such a framework will ensure that Oregon’s environmental assessment practices in this sector are based on a solid and trustworthy scientific approach.

"This study will provide important information to wave energy developers and regulatory agencies as we work to continue the responsible development of the wave energy industry in Oregon,” said Kevin Banister, president, board of directors, Oregon Wave Energy Trust. “We're excited to work with such a qualified and recognized partner as JASCO Applied Sciences. This project, in addition to the others the Oregon Wave Energy Trust has sponsored, continues to lay the groundwork for economic development and job creation from this exciting new industry."

Key components of the research to be conducted by JASCO Applied Sciences include identifying present knowledge about the background underwater noise environment in regions of Oregon coastal waters where wave energy development may take place, documenting current information about anthropogenic noise levels from comparable installations in other geographic locations, and defining protocols and methodology guidelines for the estimation and measurement of underwater noise at both the planning and development stages of a wave energy project. The final report is scheduled to be available in December 2009.

“We are very enthusiastic about this study that will assist in defining accountable, realizable and forward looking environmental permitting processes for wave energy development in Oregon. Building from the experience that we have accumulated in both conventional and renewable energy offshore development projects, we shall work with Oregon Wave Energy Trust to provide acoustic measurement methodologies for regulatory assessment that will both help safeguard the environment and provide unambiguous standards to industry” said Roberto Racca, chief communications officer, JASCO Applied Sciences and one of the senior researchers assigned to this study.