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USA getting serious about developing wave energy

text-relevantUS Doubles Down On Wave Energy, $40 Mil For New Test Bed, Clean Technica December 31st, 2016 by  It looks like the US is about to get much, much more serious about developing its vast wave energy potential. Researchers have been working at several relatively modest sites in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, and now the Energy Department has announced funding for a new, $40 million utility scale test site in the waters of the continental US, off the coast of Oregon.

Why Wave Energy?

The new wave energy test site will be built and operated under the auspices of Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.

In a press release announcing the plan to invest up to $40 million in the nation’s first utility scale wave energy test site, the Energy Department noted that more than half of the population of the US lives within 50 miles of a coastline.

All things being equal, coastal populations are expected to grow, but getting zero emission energy to coastal regions is becoming more complex and difficult. Aging coastal nuclear power plants will most likely not be replaced, and population density limits the potential for utility scale wind farms and solar arrays on land.

Another limitation for land-based renewable energy in coastal areas is the need for new long distance transmission lines. Plans have been in place for years to bring wind power from the wind rich midwest to points east, but the new lines have had to battle against fossil fuel interests as well as local stakeholders.

One solution is to tap the waters of the US coastlines.

That’s beginning to happen in the wind energy sector on the east coast, where the relatively shallow waters of the Continental Shelf are amenable to offshore wind turbine technology.

The nation’s first offshore wind farm just went online off the coast of Rhode Island, and the Obama Administration has mapped out an ambitious plan to harvest wind energy all along the eastern seaboard. It looks like New York State’s Long Island is next in line for development.

The west coast is a different kettle of fish. The Continental Shelf drops off quickly, and the waters are too deep for conventional offshore wind turbines to be set on the ocean floor.

As a solution, the Energy Department has been pumping some significant dollars into R&D to commercialize floating wind turbines.

With the new investment of $40 million the agency appears to be broadening its focus to accelerate wave energy development, too.

The payoff could be huge, so to speak: Recent studies estimate that America’s technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges between approximately 900–1,230 terawatt hours (TWh) per year…For context, approximately 90,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh per year. This means that even if only a few percent of the potential is recovered, millions of homes could be powered by wave energy as the technology progresses.

The New Wave Energy Test Facility

The new facility will be called the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site. Along with federal dollars, unspecified non-federal funding will go into the construction………

A Wave Energy Explainer………

January 2, 2017 - Posted by | renewable, USA

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