Underground infrastructure engineering completed for US’ first full-scale wave energy test facility7 June 2023
Jacobs has successfully completed the underground infrastructure engineering for the PacWave South commercial-scale ocean wave energy testing facility – set to become the first pre-permitted, full-scale test facility for wave energy devices in the US.
Jacobs delivered the engineering services for the HDD Company, the design-build contractor for the project, which is being developed by Oregon State University (OSU).
The PacWave South facility will provide an ideal testing ground for up to 20 wave energy converters (WECs) of various designs, enabling real-world evaluation in open-sea conditions situated seven miles off the Oregon coast. The project encompasses the installation of four offshore steel conduits, reaching depths of up to 120ft below the seafloor and extending a mile offshore. These conduits will be connected to a bundle of five onshore high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduits. The entire infrastructure was installed using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methods, ensuring minimal disturbance to sensitive wetlands and beach areas. Ultimately, the conduits will link to PacWave's Utility Connection and Monitoring Facility, facilitating the conversion of offshore ocean waves into onshore renewable electricity.
"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," stated Koti Vadlamudi, Jacobs People & Places Solutions Senior Vice President for Global Business Units. "This work reaffirms our commitment to working with organizations that push the boundaries of what's possible to address climate change and build resilient energy transition solutions in our communities."
Dan Hellin, Deputy Director of PacWave, lauded the innovative solutions provided by the Jacobs team throughout the design and construction phases. Their collaboration resulted in methods for concealing the large concrete vault built at the state park, which acts as a critical hub for splicing and transitioning energy from offshore to onshore conduits. By disguising the vault as a reconstructed parking lot, beachgoers will not experience any disruptions caused by the added wave energy testing infrastructure.
The PacWave South project received national recognition for its excellence in engineering. It was honored with a prestigious National Recognition Award in the 2022 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition, hosted by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).