The US Department of Energy has announced $25 million in financing for eight wave energy-related initiatives.
The DOE stated that the programs would focus on three areas: wave energy converter technology testing, wave energy research and development, and the advancement of wave energy converter designs.
The projects will comprise the first wave of open-water testing at PacWave South, a facility to be located in seas off the coast of Oregon, according to a statement issued by the DOE earlier this week.
PacWave South construction began in June 2021 and is projected to be completed by the following year, with grid-connected testing beginning in 2024.
CalWave Power Technologies has been given $7.5 million; Portland State University has been awarded slightly more than $4.5 million, and Columbia Power Technologies has been awarded slightly less than $4.2 million.
“Harnessing the unstoppable force of the ocean is a clean, creative, and sustainable solution to reduce carbon pollution,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, the United States’ energy secretary, on Tuesday.
While some people are excited about the potential of marine energy, its present impact is small in comparison to other renewable technologies like solar and wind. According to Ocean Energy Europe, just 260 kW of tidal stream capacity was added in Europe in 2020, while only 200 kW of wave energy was deployed.
In comparison, the same year witnessed the installation of 14.7 gigatonnes of wind energy capacity in Europe, according to the industry association WindEurope.
Developing and scaling up technology such as wave energy converters is a significant task, not least due to the harsh conditions found at sea and corrosion concerns.
This makes testing projects all the more vital, as the DOE notes: “Wave energy converters, which capture and convert waves into carbon-free power, require testing in realistic settings before they can be implemented at scale.”
In recent years, a number of wave energy projects have taken shape and progressed.
For example, in June 2021, Mocean Energy stated that their Blue X wave machine, which is 20 meters long and weighs 38 metric tonnes, has begun testing at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland. In November, the gadget was returned to shore.
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