A critical conduit for ocean wave energy

Dallas-based engineering giant Jacobs has completed work for infrastructure underpinning Oregon State University’s ocean wave energy testing facility in Seal Rock, Ore. The first commercial-scale U.S. installation of its kind, PacWave South allows up to 20 wave energy converters of various designs to be tested in real-world conditions seven miles off the coast. The project includes four steel conduits up to 120 feet below the seafloor and extending a mile offshore, connecting to a bundle of five onshore high-density polyethylene conduits. All were installed using horizontal directional drilling methods and ultimately connected to the PacWave Utility Connection and Monitoring Facility. The drilling method was chosen to avoid disturbing sensitive wetlands and beach areas while affording year-round operation. 

“The engineering for this project was complex, requiring our team to overcome coastal geology challenges, working in the near-shore environment around sensitive wetlands, and meeting a tight schedule to obtain regulatory approval,” says Jacobs People & Places Solutions Senior Vice President, Global Business Units Koti Vadlamudi. “This reaffirms our commitment to working with organizations that push the boundaries of resilient energy transition.”

“Throughout design and construction, the Jacobs team continued to create innovative solutions,” adds PacWave Deputy Director Dan Hellin. “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.”

The project earned a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies 2022 Engineering Excellence competition. Jacobs has also been recognized by Environmental Business International with five achievement awards for leadership and outstanding performance across climate response, environmental corporate work in 2022. Climate response has been elevated to one of the firm’s three growth accelerators in a “Boldly Moving Forward” strategy.