U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

DOE Awards up to $7.3 Million to 14 Water Power Projects

September 18, 2008

DOE announced on September 18 that it will invest up to $7.3 million in 14 research projects for advanced water power technologies, including hydropower, wave, tidal, and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). Combined with the cost share from the awardees, up to $18 million may be invested in these projects. Of these 14 selected projects, six were chosen to receive funding for technology development projects and six for market acceleration projects. Additionally, up to $2.5 million will be invested over the next 5 years in developing two National Marine Renewable Energy Centers: one in Hawaii and one in the Northwest, which will be run by a partnership between Oregon State University and the University of Washington. Both facilities will support the development of wave and tidal energy in the United States.

Up to $600,000 will be invested over 2 years in six technology development projects. The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI) will receive funding to develop and deploy fish-friendly turbines for traditional hydropower systems. Two of the projects will focus on tidal power technologies, with Verdant Power, Inc. fabricating large, high-power, more cost-effective tidal hydropower rotors, and Washington's Snohomish County Public Utility District conducting in-water testing of tidal flow technology in Puget Sound as a first step toward developing a commercial power plant. Two additional projects will focus on wave power technologies, with Pacific Gas and Electric Company researching, designing, and submitting license construction and operation applications for a tidal energy demonstration plant in Northern California, and Concepts ETI, Inc., developing an ocean wave converter power system that will be installed in Maui, Hawaii. The last of the projects will be run by Lockheed Martin Corporation and will validate manufacturing techniques for the coldwater pipes needed for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) systems. OTEC projects work by using the difference in temperature between the warm, top layer of water and the cold, deeper levels of water to either power a turbine or directly create electricity.

Finally, up to $500,000 will be invested over 2 years in six market acceleration projects, led by EPRI; Georgia Tech Research Corporation; Re Vision Consulting, LLC; Pacific Energy Ventures, LLC.; PCCI, Inc.; and Science Applications International Corporation. Of these, the EPRI project will assess the wave energy resources in the United States and create a geographic database of the resources, Georgia Tech will assess the tidal energy resources in the United States, and the others will focus on siting practices and standards development for marine and hydrokinetic technologies. See the DOE press release.