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Marine energy technologies are at an early stage of development due to the fundamental challenges of generating power from a dynamic, low-velocity, and high-density resource while withstanding corrosive marine environments. These challenges are intensified by high costs and lengthy permitting processes associated with in-water testing.

The program comprises four core R&D activity areas which represent the program’s strategic approach to addressing the challenges faced by U.S. marine energy stakeholders:

1) Foundational R&D

2) Technology-Specific System Design & Validation

3) Reducing Barriers to Testing

4) Data Access & Analytics.

To achieve the mission and help to realize the vision, the Marine Energy Program will conduct transformative early-stage research that advances the development of reliable, cost-competitive marine energy technologies and reduces barriers to technology deployment.

Featured Work

Group of men and women in business casual attire stand outside in the sun smiling.

International Standards are technical specifications written by experts from across the globe to describe best practices, based on industry experience, for how a device should be designed, built, and/or operated to be safe, compatible, and interoperable.

water flowing at dusk.

The Portal and Repository for Information on Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMRE) provides broad access to information on engineering and technologies, resource characterization, device performance, and environmental effects of Marine Renewable Energy projects.

Fish swimming in the ocean with sunlight shining through the water.

The Powering the Blue Economy™ initiative seeks to understand the power requirement of emerging coastal and maritime markets and advance technologies that could integrate marine renewable energy to relieve these power constraints and promote economic growth.

Illustrated waves and dots flowing across the page.

The U.S. Testing Expertise and Access to Marine Energy Research Program (TEAMER) is designed to provide marine energy technology developers and researchers with access to U.S.-based test facilities and technical expertise.


2021 International Conference on Ocean Energy
Join DOE and WPTO for ICOE 2021 “Energizing a Powerful Blue Economy”
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2019-2020 WPTO Accomplishments Report is Released
Letter from the Water Power Technologies Office Director, Alejandro Moreno
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WPTO Creates STEM Workforce Development Portals
In 2020, NREL released new STEM and workforce development portals for both marine energy and hydropower.
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Multi-Lab Partnership Launches Portal for Marine Energy Information
WPTO supported the creation of PRIMRE, a Portal and Repository for Information on Marine Renewable Energy.
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Tidal Testing Underway in New York’s East River
In 2020, Verdant Power deployed their fifth generation Free Flow System turbines with their new TriFrame™ mount in New York’s East River.
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Land-Based Test of a Wave Energy Converter
In 2019, NREL completed a multi-year system design and validation project with Columbia Power using the 5-megawatt dynamometer.
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River Hydrokinetics Reduce Dependence on Diesel in Alaska
In 2019, the Alaskan village of Igiugig worked with Ocean Renewable Power Company to deploy the RivGen® Power System.
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Resource Mapping Expands U.S. Wave Energy Estimates
In 2020, WPTO’s multi-lab resource characterization project released the highest resolution, most comprehensive wave dataset publicly available.
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Co-Design is Key for Future Wave Energy Systems
From 2014 to 2020, Sandia National Labs and MRE developer Re Vision Consulting investigated advanced controls techniques in wave energy systems.
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Sandia Develops Method for Quantifying Marine Energy Noise
Sandia National Labs has released reports, open-source codes, and trainings to help quantify MRE device interactions and noise in marine environments.
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3rd International State of the Science Report Released
In September 2020, on behalf of the International Energy Agency’s OES collaborative, PNNL released the 2020 State of the Science Report.
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