Clatsop County Board Chair Peter Huhtala will lead the discussion at a workshop set for October 5th regarding possible placement of wave energy in the waters off Camp Rilea. The county has released a copy of Huhtala's comments regarding what he says could be an issue for local fishermen if a wave energy facility were to be placed in the ocean waters
within the radius of the military base fire safety zone. This zone is closed to the public anytime the base is hosting live-fire training but Huhtala notes fishermen often work in that area when the restriction is not in place.
Participants at the meeting are to include representatives of the Oregon Military department who will give a presentation on the wave energy proposal to be followed by discussion in which the agenda indicates Huhtala will welcome both audience and participant comments.
In his notes, Chair Huhtala states that "The Oregon Military Department commissioned a feasibility study that suggests that the Danger Zone and other
locations in federal waters could accommodate the phased introduction of a variety of energy producing devices that would connect to cables coming ashore
at the National Guard base. This project would provide an alternate source of power during emergencies, feed electricity into the grid, create economic
development and educational opportunities, and contribute toward the Military Departmentʼs goal of Net Zero non-renewable fuel dependence.
This area also produces abundant Dungeness crab and groundfish. Sardines sometimes school in the vicinity. The nearshore ocean from Seaside to the South Jetty is extensively fished. Even the Danger Zone has historically been used by crabbers and trawlers when the range is not conducting live fire
Most of the current wave energy technologies create a footprint that would displace fishing activity. The fishing fleet would likely adjust to some
displacement, but at some point there would be economic loss. The big question is how to test and deploy wave energy technology – and achieve the benefits
expected from the Camp Rilea project – without harming the fishing industry.