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US Energy Department invests US$16 million in tidal energy

The US Energy Department has announced an investment of US$16 million in seventeen projects to capture energy from waves, tides and currents in a sustainably and efficient way.

The projects are intended to 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.

“Wave and tidal energy represent a large, untapped resource for the United States and responsible development of this clean, renewable energy source is an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, David Danielson.

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.

Part of the investment is US$13.5 million for eight projects to help US companies build 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 plans to develop an affordable, efficient generator half the size of a traditional generator, while Ocean Energy USA will develop and test a hull design for a floating wave device. Dehlsen Associates will develop new software for its Centipod wave device to predict future wave conditions and adjust system settings to maximize power output.

Another US$2.4 million will be awarded to nine projects that will gather and analyze environmental data from wave and tidal projects as well as potential development areas. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is also providing US$300,000 towards these awards.

A full list of the seventeen projects is available here (pdf).

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wave and tidal energy