Below is the text version for the video, Technical Assistance: Marine Energy Resource Characterization & Siting. In the video, Levi Kilcher of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discusses different types of marine energy technologies and their ideal environments as part of the technical assistance offered through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).
[Music plays, title screen shows “Energy Transitions Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy: Partnership Project, Technical Assistance”]
[Man starts speaking]
Hi, my name is Levi Kilcher. I’m a senior scientist in the Water Power Group at the National Renewable Energy Lab.
I have a Ph.D. in physical oceanography, and I lead the marine energy resource characterization team here at the lab.
[Image of a group of people lowering equipment into the ocean then image of equipment in the ocean]
In this work, we deploy equipment that measures water velocity at promising tidal, river and ocean current sites, and we deploy equipment that measure waves at promising wave sites.
[Video returns to man speaking]
We also work with colleagues at other national labs who develop and run models that estimate waves and currents at sites that do not yet have measurements.
Marine energy technologies include wave, tidal, ocean-current, ocean-thermal, and also river hydrokinetic technologies. Tidal, river, and ocean-current technologies harness energy from flowing water without the need for a dam or other large-scale, low-diversion project. Wave devices convert ocean waves into electricity, and ocean-thermal technologies convert heat into electricity.
These technologies are all showing promising results in demonstration projects, but they are not yet commercially available, off-the-shelf products.
Therefore, if your community is interested in marine energy, the first question you should ask is: Are you willing to wait a few years? It could be three, five, maybe 10 years (depending on the technology type) before these technologies are commercially available.
If the answer is no, you should probably look at other options. But, if the answer is yes, and you’re interested in learning more about these technologies, what a project might look like in your community, or you’d like to get started on planning a project, here are a few questions to get you started.
What marine energy resources do you have in or nearby your community is the first place to start. For tidal, river, or ocean-current energy, think about locations that have the strongest flow speeds.
[Aerial video of a river flowing, Video of waves near a dam]
Technologies that are being tested today typically require at least 2 knots of inflow speed to function properly, and they need water depths of several meters.
[Video returns to man speaking]
For wave energy, this means: How large are your waves and how often do you have them? Do you frequently have 6-foot swell rolling into your coastline, or are your waves usually less than 3 feet?
For ocean-thermal energy, this starts by identifying whether you have warm water at the surface. Generally speaking, this means you have at least 20 to 25 degrees C water (that’s 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) at the surface most of the year.
Once you’ve identified these things, other questions that you can start to think about are: How far is your project site from the transmission grid, and what is the water depth of your site? What is the bottom composition? Is it rocky, or sandy, or gravel?
Understanding these kinds of details about your site are first steps in identifying how much energy you could get, and what a project might look like. You don’t need to have all the answers though, we can help you answer them under the ETIPP program. But even if you have a rough idea about some of these things, it can really help us identify next steps.
[Image of a group wearing life jackets smiling]
I hope we can work together soon, and thank you for your time.
[Music plays, title screen with “Energy Transitions Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy – Partnership Project | Technical Assistance, Office of Strategic Programs| Solar Energy Technologies Office| Water Power Technologies Office | Office of Electricity]