US DoE sets aside $40M for open-water wave test site

The US Department of Energy (DoE) has made available $40 million for one project that will design, permit, and construct an open-water, grid-connected, fully energetic national wave testing facility within US waters.

The Department anticipates the facility will contain at least three test berths to simultaneously and independently test wave energy devices.

The testing facility will gather critical performance data to address technical risks, lower costs, and inform future designs to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of wave energy technologies in the United States.

The deadline for Letters of Intent for the project is set at August 29, 2016.

Recent studies found that America’s technically recoverable wave energy resource is estimated to range between approximately 900–1,230 TWh per year, distributed across the coast of Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, according to US DoE.

For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year. This means that even if only 5% of the potential is recovered, millions of homes could be powered by wave energy as the technology progresses.

Energy Department investments in facilities aim to advance the technical readiness of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) systems and support the development of a robust and competitive MHK industry in the United States.