U.S. DOE Launches Competition to Drive Innovations in Wave Energy

Wave Energy Prize DOE

The U.S. Energy Department today announced the opening of the registration period for the Wave Energy Prize, a competition that aims to double the state-of-the-art performance of wave energy conversion (WEC) devices over the next two years. The U.S. has been much slower to embrace the potential of wave energy than countries such as Scotland, and hopes that accelerating the development of WEC devices will help reduce costs and move wave energy closer to widespread commercial deployment. 

Marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies convert the energy of waves, tides, and river and ocean currents into electricity.  It is estimated that the technically recoverable wave energy resource in the U.S. is approximately 1,170 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, distributed across Alaska, the West Coast, the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. With more than 50% of the population living within 50 miles of coastlines, wave energy has vast potential to provide clean, renewable energy to cities and communities in the U.S.

The Wave Energy Prize provides an opportunity for participants to:

  • Win a monetary prize.
  • Receive seed funding to build a 1/20th scale model WEC device for testing.
  • Participate in two rounds of WEC testing–including the final round at the U.S. Navy’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin in Carderock, Maryland, the nation’s premier wave testing facility.
  • Contribute to the development of innovative clean energy technologies that boost U.S. energy security.

The judging panel will include technical experts from: Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado; Naval Surface Warfare Center—Carderock Division, Bethesda, Maryland; and Ricardo, Inc., Van Buren Township, Michigan.

The DOE expects to select finalists and alternates in early 2016. Participants can register through June 15, 2015.

This prize competition builds on the U.S. Energy Department’s ongoing efforts to demonstrate and reduce the costs of these emerging technologies by supporting the design, manufacture, testing, and evaluation of marine and hydrokinetic energy devices. To learn more about the Wave Energy Prize rules, eligibility and timeline, see the Wave Energy Prize web page.

Tracey Smith About Tracey Smith
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.