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  September 12th, 2016 | Written by

Energy Department Awards Wave and Tidal Energy Projects

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  • Projects to improve the performance of systems that generate electricity from ocean waves.
  • Projects will contribute to the development of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) industry.
  • 90,000 homes can be powered by one terawatt-hour per year.

The United States Department of Energy has announced that ten organizations have been selected to receive more than $20 million in funding for new research, development, and demonstration projects that advance and monitor marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy systems.

These projects will aim to improve the performance of MHK systems—which generate electricity from ocean waves and tidal currents—and advance environmental monitoring technologies that will help protect wildlife and reduce uncertainty regarding potential environmental impacts.

The projects will contribute to the development of a commercially viable MHK industry and further progress in proving wave and tidal energy as viable sources for our nation’s clean energy future.

Recent studies conducted by the Energy Department found that technically recoverable wave energy resources along U.S. coastlines ranges between approximately 900 and 1,230 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, while tidal streams resource ranges between approximately 220 and 330 TWh per year.

Approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by one TWh per year. “With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population living within 50 miles of coastlines, there is vast potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities in U.S. coastal areas,” according to an Energy Department statement.

Three of the demonstration projects will integrate next-generation MHK hardware and software technologies into system designs. Their effectiveness will be tested during full-scale, open-water deployments over one year. In these projects, Dresser-Rand of Wellsville, New York, Ocean Renewable Power Company of Portland, Maine, and Oscilla Power of Seattle, Washington, will be using Energy Department funding to enhance existing projects and to demonstrate their efficacy at locations, in Oregon, Maine, and Hawaii.

Seven of the projects will improve, test, and validate cost reductions in environmental monitoring equipment that will give industry a deeper understanding of interactions between MHK systems and the marine environment.

The grants come from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy which accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.