Establishing a Testing Center for Ocean Energy Technologies in the Pacific Northwest

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Testing and technical support to develop wave and tidal energy production technologies.
The University of Washington and Oregon State University are researching wave and tidal energy to maximize the energy extracted and understand potential marine ecosystem impacts.
Locations: Washington, Oregon
Partners: University of Washington, Oregon State University
EERE Investment: $10.7 million
Clean Energy Sector: Renewable electricity generationPDF

The University of Washington (UW) and Oregon State University (OSU) have partnered with EERE to develop the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), as one of three National Marine Renewable Energy Centers. NNMREC offers a full range of capabilities to support wave and tidal energy development for the United States. Ocean energy, generated from waves, tides, and currents, can be harnessed wherever changing tides move a significant volume of water or there is sufficient wave strength, including off the coasts of many U.S. cities where there is high electricity demand. Once built, ocean power installations emit no green­house gases or other pollutants. Researchers from both universities are evaluating system designs and potential ecosystem effects via mathematical modeling, as well as by testing prototypes and scaled devices in both laboratory and open water settings. To facilitate testing wave energy conversion devices, OSU developed and built a mobile ocean testing platform named the “Ocean Sentinel,” and has already deployed a wave energy device for testing off the Oregon coast. UW plans to deploy and test tidal turbines in Puget Sound, which provides a useful natural "laboratory" for studying tidal energy. UW is also developing methods to measure tidal velocity, ambient noise, biological activity, and other properties of potential tidal energy sites. Both universities’ research efforts will help maximize the energy extracted by wave and tidal power installations and under­stand the potential impacts of ocean power development on the marine ecosystem.

The Water Power Program is committed to developing and deploying a portfolio of innovative technologies for clean, domestic power generation from resources such as hydropower, waves, and tides.

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