DOE: Wave and tidal energy "early but promising"

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Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies like wave, tidal and current-generated power, aren't quite ready to contribute much to the nation's power supply, but DOE says the future looks bright. As examples, the energy agency profiled four such tidal and wave projects and how soon we can expect to see them in operation.

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DOE funds R&D for MHK technologies and has been doing so since about 2008. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized permits for projects last year.

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Pacific Northwest wave power

FERC in August approved what is said to be the first U.S. license for a grid-connected wave power project in the U.S. for Ocean Power Technologies. The company is now getting ready to deploy its first buoy off the Oregon coast in the spring of this year. The buoys in the 1.5 megawatt wave power farm will collect energy by bobbing up and down as waves flow past.

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Manhattan tidal energy

Verdant Power has finished its latest stage of testing for the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project, which will include an array of 30 commercial class tidal energy turbines. They will be installed in stages in New York City's East River and should provide about 1 megawatt of power at capacity. According to DOE, the project is the first commercial tidal power project approved by FERC in the country. Installation will begin in 2014 and wrap up in 2015.

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It should be noted that SGN reported in September that Ocean Renewable Power Company had begun providing power to the grid from its tidal energy project for the Bangor Hydro Electric Company in Maine. It sounds to us like there may well be some differences of opinion regarding what constitutes 'first.'

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Wave power on both sides of the Pacific

Northwest Energy Innovations finished testing of its wave energy device in August at the Northwest Marine Renewable Energy Center's testing platform off the Oregon coast. The company also is testing it at the Navy Wave Energy Testing Site in Hawaii. DOE did not include a timeline for these projects.

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Of course, other companies are in various stages of wave and tidal power technology design and testing so we should expect more similar news to come. Please use the Talk Back form below to share your thoughts on these new marine technologies.

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