US DOE to invest in wave, tidal projects

August 30, 2013

The US Department of Energy will invest US$16 million in 17 projects to harness wave and tidal energy.

As part of the Obama Administration’s strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the projects were selected for their potential to sustainably and efficiently capture energy from waves, tides and currents. Together, these projects will increase the power production and reliability of wave and tidal devices and help gather valuable data on how deployed devices interact with the surrounding environment.

“Wave and tidal energy represent a large, untapped resource for the United States and responsible development of this clean, renewable energy source is an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and  Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Tidal and wave energy is a clean, renewable resource that can be harnessed wherever changing tides, waves or currents move a significant volume of water – including off the coasts of many US cities where there is high electricity demand. The Department’s latest nationwide wave and tidal energy resource assessments identify up to 1,400Tw-hr of potential generation per year. One Tw-hr of electricity is enough to power 85,000 homes and developing a small fraction of the available wave and tidal energy resource could allow for millions of American homes to be powered with this clean, reliable form of renewable energy.

Stronger, More Efficient Wave and Tidal Energy Technologies

Today, the Energy Department announced about $13.5 million for eight projects to help US companies build durable, efficient wave and tidal devices that reduce overall costs and maximize the amount of energy captured. The projects will develop new drivetrain, generator and structural components as well as develop software that predicts ocean conditions and adjusts device settings accordingly to optimize power production.

For example, ABB will develop an affordable, efficient generator that is half the size of a traditional generator, while Ocean Energy USA will develop and test a hull design for a floating wave device. Dehlsen Associates will develop new software for its Centipod wave device to predict future wave conditions and adjust system settings to maximize power output.

Responsible and Sustainable Energy Development

As part of the Administration’s commitment to developing America’s vast renewable energy resources responsibly, the Energy Department announced $2.4 million to nine projects that will gather and analyze environmental data from wave and tidal projects as well as potential development areas. As this nascent energy industry grows, these projects will help ensure that potential environmental impacts are addressed proactively and that projects can be developed efficiently and responsibly.

Through a broader collaborative effort between the Energy Department and the DOI to build a sustainable, world-class offshore energy industry, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is providing $300,000 towards these awards.

Find a full list of the seventeen marine and hydrokinetic system performance advancement projects HERE.

  • Advanced controls projects (3): Delsen Assoc. (Santa Barbara, Calif.); Ocean Renewable Power Co. (Portland, Maine); Resolute Marine Energy (Boston, Mass.).
  • Next-Gen power take-off projects (3): ABB (Raleigh, No. Carolina) with Resolute Marine and Texas A&M Univ. (College Station, Tex.); Columbia Power Technologies (Charlottesville, Virg.); Ocean Renewable Power Co.
  • Advanced structures projects (2): Ocean Energy USA (Sacramento, Calif.); Ocean Power Technologies (Pennington, NJ).
  • Environ. monitoring of marine & hydrokinetic environmental projects (7): Univ. of Maine (Orono); Electric Power Research Institute (Palo Alto, Calif.); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.); Univ. of Washington (Seattle); Oregon State Univ. (2 projects; Corvallis); Florida Atlantic Univ. (Boca Raton).
  • Projects analyzing environmental effects of surrogate technologies (2): H.T. Harvey & Assoc. (Los Gatos, Calif.); Vantuna Research Group (Hermosa Beach, Calif.).

See more information on the Energy Department’s efforts to grow America’s water energy sector at

Photo: Ocean Power Technologies of Pennington's new 150 kW PowerBuoy system captures the kinetic energy of waves to drive a generator that produces electricity. (Photo from Ocean Power Technologies)

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