Ocean Energy Systems (OES), an intergovernmental collaboration consisting of over 20 member countries including the United States, has released the Spotlight on Ocean Energy report, which provides detailed analysis and insights into 20 ocean energy projects and five policy-based initiatives spread among member countries. The report also contains an extensive list of active ocean energy test sites. Twelve U.S. facilities are highlighted, including the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Hawaii, the Southeast National Renewable Energy Center - Ocean Current Test Facility in Florida, and the Jennette's Pier Wave Energy Test Facility in North Carolina. The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) together with the national laboratories supplied input for the U.S. portion of OES's report.
While marine energy is at an earlier stage of development relative to other renewables, OES's report provides examples of not only active projects and testing capabilities, but also of American contribution and leadership within the context of international marine energy development. Oregon-based Columbia Power Technologies' (CPT) Wave Energy Generator, was one of the 20 projects profiled in the report. Funded by WPTO, CPT's 500kW generator is being developed to more efficiently and cost-effectively convert the energy from ocean waves into electricity. The generator is being tested at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) 5 MW dynamometer facility, which simulates the oscillating motion of waves and provides device performance data to developers before open ocean deployment. CPT ultimately intends to attach the generator to their SingRAY wave energy converter for testing at WETS.
In the report, WPTO's 2016 Wave Energy Prize was also featured as a key catalyst for spurring innovation in wave energy technology development. The competition focused on comparative testing of small-scale marine energy devices with the goal of doubling energy capture per unit of structural cost, based off of 2014 designs. 92 teams entered, and the grand-prize winning team, AquaHarmonics, demonstrated a five-fold increase in energy capture. The prize illustrated both broad interest and technical capability within the U.S. wave energy development community. Many participants have gone on to further advance the wave energy concepts showcased during the competition, with finalists AquaHarmonics, CalWave Power Technologies, and Oscilla Power all receiving competitively awarded follow-on research awards from WPTO to continue development of their technologies.
The OES report can be downloaded here for additional information on initiatives and ocean energy projects carried out by the United States together with other OES members.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality. For more information on water power research, development, testing, and deployment see the EERE Water Power Technology Office's website.