The DOE funding will be spread out over 17 projects that focus on data collection in environmental surveys and improving efficiency in tidal and wave generators. These 17 projects include everything from developing advanced controls for wave devices and feedback algorithms for a wave converter device.
One of the 17 recipients of the funding, the Ocean Renewable Power company launched the first grid-connected tidal energy project last year. It’s called TideGen, and it’s completely commercial. The company can now expect $1.93 million in DOE funding to develop a system of advanced controls to predict tidal conditions. The goal of the project is to ultimately improve turbine performance in extreme conditions. Ocean Renewable Power will get another $3 million later to develop advanced components for tidal, wave, and current generators to assess performance and to determine long-term value.
The Electric Power Research Institute will be getting $300,000 to determine the impact of electromagnetic fields deep in the ocean from transmission lines. The University of Washington will get $400,000 to study the impact of noise from tidal devises of marine wildlife, specifically seals, porpoises, and killer whales.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will receive $95,000 to study the effects of fish populations from tidal turbines. ORNL will be focusing on the existing tidal power in NYC, developed by Verdant Power.
The DOE’s funding focuses on wave and tidal power, but the Obama Administration has plans to study America’s inland waterways as a significant source of low-impact renewable energy as well.