Photo: Illustration/Wave energy device (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

United States grants $27 million to bring wave energy technology to market

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made available up to $27 million in federal funding for research and development projects to convert energy from ocean waves into carbon-free electricity.

Illustration/Wave energy device (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)
Illustration/Wave energy device (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

The funding opportunity aims to advance wave energy technologies toward commercial viability, and supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy that will create jobs and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The R&D and testing performed under this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will be the first round of activities supported at the PacWave South test site.

Work conducted under the FOA will also produce open-access data that will benefit the entire wave energy R&D community, according to U.S. DOE.

This data will include wave, wind, and ocean current resource measurements, geotechnical measurements, and environmental monitoring measurements that will help improve future wave energy converter (WEc) system designs for PacWave and reduce the costs of future deployments.

The projects to be funded will use the PacWave South facility to research technologies and processes to more efficiently convert wave energy and integrate the renewable power to the grid and other blue economy markets.

Specifically, DOE funding will support projects focusing on:

  • Testing WEC technologies at PacWave (up to $15 million in federal funding) – this topic area focuses on testing of WEC system designs intended for remote and microgrid applications, as well as open-source WEC systems that aim to generate publicly available data and knowledge to benefit the entire WEC industry.
  • Advancing WEC designs for PacWave (up to $5 million in federal funding) – this topic area will support the development of designs of robust WEC systems to generate offgrid or grid-connected power.

    By the end of the award period, the systems designed would be ready for fabrication, deployment, and prototype testing at PacWave South.

  • Open topic: wave energy R&D at PacWave (up to $7 million in federal funding) – this topic area will directly leverage the PacWave test facility to perform impactful wave energy R&D that will advance the marine energy industry as a whole.

    This topic area will support projects that advance WEC systems, system components, environmental monitoring technologies, instrumentation and prognostic health monitoring systems, wave measurement systems, and other supporting technologies.

To remind, in 2016 DOE partnered with Oregon State University to build the PacWave South test facility, located off the coast of Newport in Oregon. Once built, the site will be the nation’s first accredited, grid-connected, pre-permitted, open-water wave energy test facility. 

Related Article

Jennifer M. Granholm, secretary of energy at U.S. DOE, said: “Oregon is helping lead the nation in our efforts to harness the unlimited energy potential in America’s oceans and lakes. With wave energy, we have the opportunity to add more renewable power to the grid and deploy more sustainable energy to hard to reach communities. DOE’s investments in America’s businesses and universities developing these new technologies will propel our clean energy future”.

Concept papers are due for submission by 13 August, with the deadline for full applications set on 5 October, while an informational webinar on the FOA will take place on 22 July 2021.