OIMB receives funding for wind turbine

The University of Oregon’s Oregon Institute of Marine Biology has received a grant through Pacific Power's Blue Sky initiatives to fund a 10 kW wind turbine at the Charleston Marine Life Center in Coos Bay.

The grant proposal for the turbine was written in collaboration with Steve Mital at the UO Office of Sustainability,with help from colleagues in the Physics department, Campus Operations and the School of Architecture. It provides $86,000 that will be supplemented by $31,000 acquired earlier from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for green energy installations at the center.

With the turbine, the Charleston center will become the first UO building to provide all its own power for operation, the university's first facility to generate wind energy and the first wind turbine in Coos County.

The exact turbine and setting of the installation have yet to be determined, due to factors including sound and potential interference with sea birds. The goal is for the center to have a public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the installation on April 22 – Earth Day, 2014.

The Blue Sky community project funds are an effort by Pacific Power to support renewable energy projects in the company’s service area. Many of the projects funded are now complete and generating electricity in their local communities. Projects are chosen through applications and funding can range from a few thousand dollars to more significant investments depending on the request.

The OIMB will also partner with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art to leverage the purchase of energy-efficient LED lighting for both museums. Campus operations agreed to pay for a portion of the bulbs. The center hopes to use the changes as an opportunity to educate the public on energy efficient, sustainable power and the reduction of carbon emissions.

Additionally, the Three Rivers Foundation announced it would fund displays that incorporate Native American themes into the biological displays in the Marine Life Center. The center is working closely with anthropologists from the tribes and with archaeologists at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History on the UO campus to highlight information about early fisheries and early interactions with sea otters and whales. The grant includes funds for purchasing ancient fishing gear replicas hand-crafted by local Native American artisans.

Faculty and student volunteers who would like to work on the development of content for the museum and aquarium displays should contact Craig Young.

The Three Rivers Foundation is a charitable organization of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw. The foundation was established in 2011; its mission is to preserve and advance the quality of life in southwest Oregon and invest in the community in a way that is reflective of the tribes' culture, values and compassion. It provides grants for projects that may have statewide impacts.

- by Katherine Cook, UO Office of Strategic Communications intern