Photo: Illustration/Northwest Energy Innovations’ Azura wave energy converter (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)

U.S. DOE to fund open water wave energy research at PacWave test site

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has set out plans to issue a funding opportunity announcement in summer 2021 to support open water research and development (R&D) at the PacWave South test site.

Illustration/Northwest Energy Innovations’ Azura wave energy converter (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)
Illustration/Northwest Energy Innovations’ Azura wave energy converter (Courtesy of U.S. DOE)

The R&D that will be supported by this funding opportunity will help advance wave energy converter technologies towards commercial viability, according to U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Through summer 2021 call, EERE plans to fund proposals for the development of systems that can serve emerging blue economy markets or provide electricity to utility grids to help meet the nation’s growing need for clean energy.

The funding opportunity will focus on three topic areas related to the testing of wave energy technologies, advancing wave energy converter designs, and wave energy R&D at the PacWave site.

The PacWave South test facility will be the nation’s first accredited, grid-connected, pre-permitted U.S. open water wave energy test facility.

The construction at the facility already started earlier in June, and once the installation of subsea cables is completed in 2022 or 2023, the facility will start operations.

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Kelly Speakes-Backman, acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said: “Building a clean energy economy and addressing the climate crisis is a top priority of the Biden Administration.

Marine energy resources could be particularly well poised to help decarbonize the blue economy by providing renewable energy to support offshore industries, science and security missions, and by meeting the energy and water needs of coastal and remote island communities”.

Over the last decade, EERE has supported a broad spectrum of foundational R&D for wave energy converters, including the development of numerical modeling tools, the design and optimization of systems and components, characterization of systems through tank and laboratory testing, advancement in materials and controls, and limited open water systems testing activities.