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Scott Jenne works in ocean research with NREL.

June is Ocean Month, and to celebrate STEM Rising is sharing profiles of Energy Department staff in ocean-related careers. Meet Scott Jenne. Scott is a Mechanical Engineer who started his career in energy with the biomass gasification group at NREL, designing scrubber systems. He then moved to the geothermal analysis team to explore low temperature geothermal applications, and over the last six years, he has been performing feasibility studies for ocean wave and tidal-powered systems. Most of his work in recent years has been focused on wave-powered desalination activities and working along side the Department of Energy to plan the Waves to Water Prize (

What’s your favorite fact about the ocean?

We know more about space than we know about the ocean.

What do you do to celebrate Ocean Month?

As someone living in a land-locked state during a pandemic, I’ll be splitting my time between ocean documentaries and planning future trips.

What inspired you to work in water power?

There’s so much about ocean energy that isn’t fully understood. Everything from what the technologies will look like to how they can contribute to all the activities happening in the ocean.

What do you do in your job?

I evaluate marine energy technology systems and their economics to understand how they can be used for different applications including electricity production, providing clean water, and even small isolated applications like powering underwater robotics. 

What books or movies about the ocean do you recommend?

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger is a great reminder of how powerful, yet fragile, the ocean eco-system can be.

Do you have any advice for people who want to work in ocean-related careers?

Do it! The ocean is filled with unfathomable amounts of information, but in order to really understand even a small fraction of what’s there we’ll need a lot of passionate people with a broad set of skills and perspectives. The more we explore the ocean the greater those needs will be.

Read more Ocean Month profiles and get infomation about STEM programs and resources on STEM Rising,

Scott Jenne works at NREL in ocean research.
Scott Jenne works at NREL in ocean research.