Covering more than 70 percent of the earth's surface, oceans can produce different types of energy, including thermal energy from the sun's heat and mechanical energy from the action of waves and tides. The United States has taken another important step in harnessing that energy in ways that are safe, sustainable, and environmentally safe.
The U.S. Department of Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, announced on October 26th 8 joint research awards totaling nearly $5 million to support the responsible siting and permitting of offshore wind energy facilities and ocean energy generated from waves, tides, currents and thermal gradients. This research will address key information gaps regarding the potential environmental effects of renewable ocean energy.
"The nation's oceans represent a major potential source of clean renewable energy, and the Department of Energy is committed to developing the innovative technologies that will harness that potential," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
BOEMRE Director Mark Bromwich said, "We are pleased to join with our partners in announcing these important studies that will give us insight into ocean renewable energy development."
"There are many new and exciting renewable energy opportunities waiting for us in the ocean," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. "These grants will help realize that potential by understanding environmental impacts and incorporating appropriate mitigation measures from the outset."
Research funded under each of the programs 8 topic areas will help reduce the environmental risks and regulatory uncertainties associated with offshore renewable energy deployment.
Among the projects selected for funding is a study of the effects of construction and operation noises from offshore alternative energy activities on marine life.
The projects were solicited through a competitive joint funding process. This innovative partnership between the agencies creates a common research portfolio that meets key industry and regulatory needs. This significantly magnifies the impact of all three agencies' research funding by eliminating redundancies, supporting complementary work, and sharing the results of research findings.
The United States is committed to being a leader in the development of ocean renewable energy.