Hydro power projects typically consist of slapping a dam up on a river in order to generate energy. Not exactly the most environmentally friendly way of creating power for many. Now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to take a look at alternatives to this which would seek to generate renewable electricity from the nation’s oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams.
The DOE has made $37 million in funding available to 27 diverse projects in the arenas of of emerging marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies to test their technological and commercial readiness. These projects range in scope from concept studies and component design research to prototype development and in-water device testing. It is hoped this “unprecedented level of funding” will will advance the ability of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies to contribute to the nation’s electricity supply.
Examples of projects being funded by the DOE include a 150 kilowatt PowerBuoy system in the Oregon Territorial Sea from Ocean Power Technologies to collect two years of detailed operating data; a project in Maine to build install, operate, and monitor a commercial-scale array of five grid-connected TidGen Project devices on the sea floor from Ocean Renewable Power Company; and a full-scale, grid-connected tidal turbine system in Washington expected to generate 1 megawatt (MW) of electrical energy during periods of peak tidal currents with an average energy output of approximately 100 kilowatts (kW).
“This funding represents the largest single investment of federal funding to date in the development of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “These innovative projects will help grow water power’s contribution to America’s clean energy economy.”