U.S. energy industry getting serious about marine power generation


By: SGN Staff

Marine energy, not long ago considered a "yeah, maybe someday" option in the renewable energy sector, is getting quite a lot of attention lately: from the energy industry, federal and state governments, universities and the military.


A new report from GlobalData notes that collaborations between the U.S. energy industry and a number of universities are getting closer to coming up with new technologies to take advantage of wave and tidal power than ever before. The U.S. Navy has continued to support its Naval Facilities Command which consolidates ocean energy research in the country, and DOE's Water Power Program has invested more than $87 million on marine and hydrokinetic development projects, the report says.


The hot spots are the west coast (specifically Oregon and California) and Alaska. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that coastal energy could yield 2,610 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, with the west coast and Alaska accounting for more than 80% of that total. The report also says Maine and New Jersey have the right conditions for marine power development.


While a number of marine energy projects are in the planning stages and more than 80 are in development, GlobalData says the country at this point has only one "commercially active" wave power plant. Smart Grid News reported last month on a tidal energy project that is now providing power to a Maine electric utility. Oregon alone has 300 megawatts of planned projects waiting for development, and the report says California's wave energy resources could provide 20% of the state's power needs.


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