Energy Department Announces Funding to Test a Wave Energy Device in Hawaii

May 18, 2012

As part of President Obama's commitment to an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American-made energy, the U.S. Energy Department today announced $500,000 available this year to test the technical readiness of technologies that can harness energy from waves to supply renewable power to highly-populated coastal regions. The funding will support one project to deploy and test a wave energy conversion device for one year at the Department of Navy's Wave Energy Test Site off of Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu. This funding will demonstrate and accelerate wave power technologies that could further develop the country's significant ocean energy resources, create new industries and new jobs in America, and secure U.S. leadership in the global race for renewable energy technologies.

These efforts complement an ongoing collaboration with the Navy, underscoring how increased cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Energy Department—as embodied in the DOD-DOE Energy Security Memorandum of Understanding—can further the nation's objectives toward renewable energy development. Through the funding opportunity announced today, the Energy Department will provide technical support to test and evaluate the best wave energy options to provide power to DOD facilities.

The Energy Department estimates that there are over 1,170 terawatt hours per year of electric generation available from wave energy off U.S. coasts, although not all of this resource potential can realistically be developed. For comparison, the United States uses 4,000 terawatt hours of electricity each year. The Navy has supported wave energy conversion research with the expectation that this technology can be used to assist DOD in reaching its agency goal of producing or procuring 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

The Energy Department expects to select a proposed wave energy device that is substantially complete and ready for testing and data collection without significant modification. The testing will include a comprehensive performance assessment—as well as a review of all pre- and post-deployment activities, operations and maintenance activities, and related analysis—to advance our understanding of these innovative technologies and identify areas of performance improvement that will benefit this emerging industry as a whole. For more details on this opportunity and how to apply, see the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about DOE's efforts to research, develop, deploy, and test innovative water power technologies.