The Energy Department on August 29 announced $16 million for 17 projects to help 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.
The Energy Department awarded about $13.5 million for eight projects to help U.S. 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 of Raleigh, North Carolina, will develop an affordable, efficient generator, that is half the size of a traditional generator, while Ocean Energy USA of Sacramento, California, will develop and test a hull design for a floating wave device.
The Energy Department also awarded $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. The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is providing $300,000 towards these awards.
Tidal and wave energy can be harnessed wherever changing tides, waves, or currents move a significant volume of water—including off the coasts of many U.S. cities where there is high electricity demand. The Department’s latest nationwide wave and tidal energy resource assessments identify up to 1,400 terawatt hours of potential generation per year. One terawatt-hour of electricity is enough to power 85,000 homes. See the Energy Department press release and the complete list of projects .