Energy 101: Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy

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See how marine and hydrokinetic technologies harness the energy of the ocean's waves, tides, and currents and convert it into electricity to power our homes, buildings and cities.

Text Version

Below is the text version for the Energy 101: Marine & Hydrokinetic Energy video.

The words "Energy 101: Marine & Hydrokinetic Energy" appear onscreen. Montage of renewable energy technologies ending with shots of ocean waves.

We all know energy can come from the wind and the sun, but there's a plentiful renewable resource covering more than 75% of the planet that you might not have thought about: our water!

The movement of the ocean's waves, tides, and currents carries energy that can be harnessed and converted into electricity to power our homes, buildings and cities.

The words "Kinetic Energy" appear onscreen with shots of ocean scientists at sea. The words "Marine & Hydrokinetic" appear onscreen.

The energy available in this moving water is called kinetic energy. Scientists and engineers are learning to capture clean renewable ocean power using marine and hydrokinetic technologies.

Shots of estuaries, coastal waves, and currents.

Water currents occur naturally all over the planet. Waves crash against coastlines. Tidal currents ebb and flow and large currents move water all around our oceans.

We can tap into each one of these sources to generate electricity. It's estimated that along U.S. coastlines, there is enough energy in waves and tides to meet a significant portion of America's power needs.

Shots of buoys and other wave technology.

So, how does it work? That depends on what kind of hydrokinetic power you're trying to capture, but the concept is essentially the same: extracting power from moving water.

Animation of a buoy in motion.

For example, a buoy can harness energy from the vertical rise and fall of ocean waves, as well as back-and-forth and side-to-side movements.

Animation of submerged turbines.

Currents and tides can also spin a turbine in various directions as water moves through an ocean power device, generating electricity.

Montage of wave and turbine technologies.

The Energy Department is supporting research on a range of innovative turbine technologies to capture energy from waves, river, and tidal currents.

Underwater current shots, followed by shots of underwater plants and fish.

Devices that operate in water have to work under turbulent and harsh conditions. They must be built to withstand strong currents and impacts from debris carried in the water. Of course, they also have to be designed to preserve the integrity of the marine environment.

Shots of coastal cities.

One of the greatest benefits of developing marine energy or "ocean power" is that many of our water resources are right where we need them — near the most populated areas. More than half of all Americans live close to coastlines where the potential for ocean power is the greatest, and some cities and towns can use power from tidal currents.

Montage of various wind technologies in the lab and at sea.

Marine and hydrokinetic technologies are still a ways off from widespread adoption. But today, dozens of organizations are already working to deploy ocean power systems throughout the world.

Montage of wave and turbine technologies, followed by an image of a bridge near a city skyline.

Marine and hydrokinetic technology...a new wave in harnessing clean, renewable energy from all sorts of water resources right here at home.

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