Delivered for Oregon State University, the PacWave South project is the first pre-permitted, full-scale test facility for wave energy devices in the US. 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 11km off Oregon’s coast. The project includes four offshore steel conduits up to 36.5m below the seafloor and extending a mile offshore, connecting to a bundle of five onshore high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduits, all installed using HDD methods and ultimately connecting to PacWave’s Utility Connection and Monitoring Facility. HDD was chosen to avoid disturbing sensitive wetlands and beaches 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 organizations that push the boundaries of what’s possible to address climate change and build resilient energy transition solutions in our communities.”

PacWave deputy director Dan Hellin said Jacobs’ innovative solutions benefited the community.

“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,” he said.This project received a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 2022 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition.