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Ocean Renewable Energy Conference

​September 27, 2012

Thank you Congresswoman Bonamici for the kind introduction. And thank you to the Oregon Wave Energy Trust and Ocean Power Technologies for having me here at “Wave Week.”

And I want to extend a special welcome to the national and international leaders in the ocean renewable energy field that have been participating at the Seventh Annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference.

Energy is the issue of our time – both globally and in the Pacific Northwest – and no single issue will have a greater impact on Oregon in the coming decade.

Over the course of the last five years Oregon has begun to significantly alter the way we power our homes and our businesses. Reducing our dependence on out-of-state, fossil fuel based sources, we now draw increased power through harvesting our state’s wind, solar, geothermal and bio-energy resources. This is not just sound energy policy, it is sound economic policy. Since 2007, the wind industry alone has invested over $5 billion in Oregon.

And thanks to some true Oregon pioneers, our oceans will now play a huge role in the next generation of clean energy development, and continue to move our state toward a net zero future.

Oregon is uniquely positioned to be a wave energy leader. Our coastline is among a handful of locations in the world that possess the key attributes for the successful development of wave energy.

Our new Ten Year Energy Action Plan identifies responsibly sited wave energy as having significant potential to provide additional resources to power Oregon, accelerate the creation of a business cluster, and generate sustainable models that can be exported to other states and countries around the world.

We are now home to a number of “firsts” in this nascent industry. The first open water test device in the United States, the first electricity producing test device, and the first wave power station FERC license issued in the US. And many of these bleeding edge devices were manufactured and fabricated right here in Oregon.

But none of these firsts could have been done without the early leadership from Oregon’s innovative entrepreneurs and the leadership of Governor Kulongoski (in attendance). I especially want to thank Oregon Wave Energy Trust for moving our entire community towards a sustainable wave energy industry, and Oregon State University for providing the intellectual firepower to get it done.  And thank you to the scientists, tug captains, metal fabricators, developers and public employees that have labored to bring us to this point.

When it comes to energy in Oregon, I have often asked: “Will we shape our energy future or will it shape us?” As William Jennings Bryan once said:  Destiny is not a matter of chance it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

With your help I am confident that our energy future here in the Pacific Northwest will be a matter of choice, not a matter of chance – and that we will chose a path that leads to a bright, prosperous and sustainable low carbon future.

Keep up with Governor Kitzhaber