U.S. DOE awards $25M To Wave Power Research Projects

U.S. DOE awards $25M To Wave Power Research Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $25M in funding to support increased research and development of wave energy technologies.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide $25 million in funding to support increased research, development, and demonstration of technologies that harness wave power to create electricity.

The funding supports eight projects that will make up the first round of open-water testing at the PacWave South test site off the Oregon coast.

These awards will strengthen wave energy technologies to accelerate their commercial viability and deploy them at scale to help decarbonize the grid and reach the Biden administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

“Harnessing the unrelenting power of the ocean is a clean, innovative, and sustainable way to curtail carbon pollution — benefitting American businesses and families, especially coastal communities hit hardest by the impacts of climate change,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“Diversifying and expanding our clean energy sources will usher in a new era of energy independence that makes the grid more resilient, curbs the climate crisis, and saves American’s money on their energy bills,” the Secretary added.

Wave energy converters, which capture and convert waves into carbon-free electricity, require testing in realistic conditions to be deployed at scale. Obstacles to testing in the open ocean include permitting challenges and a scarcity of available test sites.

In 2016, DOE partnered with Oregon State University to build the PacWave South test facility, which will be the nation’s first accredited, grid-connected, pre-permitted, open-water wave energy test facility. 

The selected projects are part of the “Advancing Wave Energy Technologies through Open Water Testing at PacWave” funding opportunity to support wave energy technologies through research, development, and eventual deployment.

As for the funds, one of the projects in question regards testing wave energy converter designs for use in geographically remote areas or on small, local energy grids. For this purpose, CalWave Power Technologies was awarded $7.5 million while Columbia Power Technologies received $4,182,275.

Developing wave energy converter designs that can be either connected to or disconnected from the electricity grid is another aspect funded by the DOE. Dehlsen Associates and Oscilla Power Inc. won $1.8 million.

The final topic funded is for performing research and development at PacWave related to environmental monitoring technologies, instrumentation systems that operators use to control wave energy converters and other technologies.

Funds were given to four institutions for this – Integral Consulting, Littoral Power Systems, Portland State University, and the University of Washington. The amounts awarded were $379,329; $3,976,401; $4,507,330; and $1,299,689 respectively.

“Wave energy is an essential piece of the strategy to combat the climate crisis, and I’m gratified that Oregon State University, Portland State University, and our state will play a central role in developing this energy source to its full potential,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden.

“To meet our climate goals, we must support American innovation,” says U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “This funding for institutions across California to research and advance wave energy technology has the potential to be an important part of our carbon-free future. I am proud to support research that will help pioneer American-made technology, create jobs, and deliver clean, affordable energy.”

“PacWave in Oregon is at the forefront of wave energy, thanks in large part to the visionary researchers at Oregon State University. This federal investment of $25 million will allow innovative technologies from across the country, including one from Portland State University, to be tested right here in Oregon, bringing us closer to realizing the potential of this tremendous resource,” U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici claimed.

“I’ve long been a champion for wave energy because it can play an important part in our transition to a clean energy economy. The award Secretary Granholm announced today is a milestone in the effort to make wave energy a reality.”

“Wave energy promises to be an important component of our clean energy future and I’m proud to represent businesses like Dehlsen Associates, which has a long history of innovative solutions to the renewable energy challenges we face,” U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal concluded.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com

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