The Department on Energy (DOE) on Dec. 21 announced the award of up to $40m, subject to appropriations, to design, permit, and construct an open-water, grid-connected national wave energy testing facility in Newport, Oregon.
The facility will be built by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University and will support innovations in wave energy technologies capable of harnessing the significant wave energy resources along U.S. coastlines.
DOE noted in a Dec. 21 news release that more than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of coastline.
The new test facility, called the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site, will be constructed with a combination of federal and non-federal funds. The planned facility, to be completed by early 2020, includes four grid-connected berths where researchers can test full-scale wave energy conversion device concepts.
Recent studies estimate that America’s technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges between approximately 900–1,230 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, distributed across the coast of Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.