DOE awards $37 million for marine, hydrokinetic energy development

Washington, D.C., September 10, 2010 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced selections for more than $37 million in funding to accelerate the technological and commercial readiness of emerging marine and hydrokinetic technologies, which seek to generate renewable electricity from the nation’s oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams.

The 27 projects range from concept studies and component design research to prototype development and in-water device testing. This level of funding will advance the ability of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies to contribute to the nation’s electricity supply.

“This funding represents the largest single investment of federal funding to date in the development of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies,” said Secretary Chu. “These innovative projects will help grow water power’s contribution to America’s clean energy economy.”

The nation’s ocean waves, tides, currents, thermal gradients, and free-flowing rivers represent a promising renewable energy source located close to centers of electricity demand.

The Department of Energy is working with industry, universities, national laboratories and other groups to develop technologies capable of harnessing these resources to generate environmentally sustainable, cost-competitive power.

The DOE will leverage private sector investments in marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies by providing cost-shared funding to industry and industry-led partnerships.

Some of the projects selected today include:

* Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Pennington, New Jersey) will deploy a full-scale 150 kW PowerBuoy system in the Oregon Territorial Sea and collect two years of detailed operating data. This project will obtain critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced wave energy converters in the U.S. DOE Funding: $2,400,000. Total Project Value: $4,800,000.

* Ocean Renewable Power Company (Portland, Maine) will build, install, operate, and monitor a commercial-scale array of five grid-connected TidGen Project devices on the sea floor in Cobscook Bay off Eastport, Maine in two phases over three years. The project will advance ORPC’s cross-flow turbine tidal energy technology, producing a full-scale, grid-connected energy system and will gather critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced tidal energy systems in the U.S.

The completed project will comprise an array of interconnected TidGenT hydrokinetic energy conversion devices, associated power electronics, and interconnection equipment into a system fully capable of commercial operation in moderate to high velocity tidal currents in water depths of up to 150 feet. The project will significantly advance the technical, operational and environmental goals of the tidal energy industry at large. DOE Funding: $10,000,000. Total Project Value: $21,100,000.

* Public Utility District No.1 of Snohomish County (Everett, Washington) will deploy, operate, monitor, and evaluate two 10-meter diameter Open-Centre Turbines, developed and manufactured by OpenHydro Group Ltd, in Admiralty Inlet of Puget Sound. The project is expected to generate 1 MW of electrical energy during periods of peak tidal currents with an average energy output of about 100 kW.

This full-scale, grid-connected tidal turbine system will gather critical technical and cost performance data for one of the most advanced tidal turbine projects in the U.S. DOE Funding: $10,000,000. Total Project Value: $20,100,000.


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