DOE Designates New National Marine Renewable Energy Center

August 18, 2010

Photo of floating, can-like device, used to generate power in the ocean.

Ocean Power Technologies' PowerBuoy could produce electricity from wave power off the Oregon coast.
Credit: Ocean Power Technologies

DOE announced on August 3 that it has awarded $250,000 to the Center for Ocean Energy Technology at Florida Atlantic University to launch the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center. The newest national center for ocean energy research and development joins centers in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that also test ocean energy technologies. The university's location near the Florida Straits and Gulf Stream, and its proximity to the ocean, allows the new center to research sustainable, renewable energy technologies capable of generating energy from ocean currents and ocean thermal energy. In addition, the research facility will collaborate with industry partners to investigate next-generation water power technologies. Researchers have already begun deploying ocean current observation systems to establish environmental baselines. The center will ultimately perform full-scale field testing of prototype devices. See the DOE Progress Alert, the Florida Atlantic University press release, and the DOE Wind and Water Power Program Web site.

Meanwhile, Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) announced on August 4 that it had signed a settlement agreement with 11 federal and state agencies, as well as three non-government stakeholders, for a utility-scale wave power project in Reedsport, Oregon. The agreement supports the phased development of a 1.5-megawatt wave energy station in a way that protects the ocean as well as stakeholder interests, according to OPT. The station would deploy 10 PowerBuoy devices which move freely up and down with the rising and falling of waves. As a result, a power take-off uses mechanical strokes to drive an electrical generator. The power is transmitted ashore via an underwater power cable. The project is designed to transform wave power into enough renewable electricity to power some 1,000 homes. See the OPT press release.