Projects Aim to Cut Operations Costs for Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy

May 30, 2017

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A key goal of the Water Power Technologies Office is driving down the cost of energy from marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy devices. Improving installation, operation, and maintenance (IO&M) strategies is an essential step toward that outcome.

Two projects will continue with $7.5 million ($3.75 million each) in second-phase funding from the Energy Department. Columbia Power Technologies, Inc. and Verdant Power, Inc. will build full-scale devices that incorporate design advances for improved IO&M, resulting in better capital costs, operational costs, and device availability.

Columbia Power Technologies, Inc. of Charlottesville, Virginia, will demonstrate a streamlined, cost-effective installation and recovery process that includes design updates and process improvements related to IO&M, while deploying a floating, offshore wave energy converter (WEC). The team also aims to identify specific methods for reducing the cost of energy in future deployments.

Verdant Power, Inc. will demonstrate its TriFrame foundation, which optimizes turbine spacing and support structures to allow for cost-effective IO&M. This will provide a way to deploy and retrieve three turbines together as a single system with one on-water operation without diver support.

The projects were evaluated for continued funding through a competitive selection process—called a downselect—which reviewed phase-one performance and trajectory toward the goals of a 2015 funding opportunity. A third project, Igiugig Village Council, met criteria for second-phase funding but was listed as an alternate. It’s next to receive funding if one of the other projects can’t move forward.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Visit water.energy.gov to learn more about the Water Power Technologies Office.