The first test buoys designed to convert ocean waves to electricity will be deployed a few miles off the Oregon Coast within a few weeks.

They won't supply power yet but they are generating concern among fishermen, conservationists and government officials who want to weigh in. Wave-generated energy is joining power possibilities from solar, wind and geothermal sources as a way to increase renewable energy and cut down on fossil fuel use, but it is by far the least-developed.

"This is no longer an abstract issue," said Onno Husing, executive director of the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, a nonprofit group in Newport that advocates for local governments along the coast. "There are buoys in the water, permits in the making."

Crabbers worry that their fishing grounds will succumb to energy wave parks likely to include dozens of buoys and undersea cables. Conservationists worry that migrating gray whales could get tangled in the lines and about the possible impact in the nearshore environment. And wave energy developers worry about recovering stiff upfront investment costs from a little-tested technology.


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