As part of President Obama's commitment to an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American-made energy, the US Energy Department has announced $500,000 available this year to test the technical readiness of technologies that can harness energy from waves to supply clean, renewable power to highly-populated coastal regions.
The funding will support one project to deploy and test a wave energy conversion device for one year at the US Navy's Wave Energy Test Site in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu (Hawaii). This funding will demonstrate and accelerate wave power technologies that could further develop the country's significant ocean energy resources, create new industries and new jobs in America, and secure US leadership in the global race for clean energy technologies.
These efforts complement an on-going collaboration with the Navy to advance ocean energy technologies. Through these efforts, the Energy Department will provide technical support to test and evaluate the best wave energy options to provide power to US Department of Defense (DOD) facilities.
The Energy Department estimates that there are over 1,170 terawatt hours per year of electric generation available from wave energy off US coasts, although not all of this resource potential can realistically be developed. For comparison, the United States uses 4,000 terawatt hours of electricity each year. The Navy has supported wave energy conversion research with the expectation that this technology can be used to assist DOD in reaching its agency goal of producing or procuring 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
The Energy Department expects to select a proposed wave energy device that is substantially complete and ready for testing and data collection without significant modification. The testing will include a comprehensive performance assessment—as well as a review of all pre- and post-deployment activities, operations and maintenance activities, and related analysis—to advance our understanding of these innovative technologies and identify areas of performance improvement that will benefit this emerging industry as a whole.