Good news for marine hydrokinetics!  On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy ( the "DOE") issued a Notice of Intent announcing that its Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program will publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement ("FOA") for hydrokinetic technology development no later than March 31, 2010.  This announcement comes just six months after the DOE awarded $14.6 million to 22 advanced water power projects designed to accelerate the commercial viability, market acceptance, and environmental performance of these technologies.  Stoel Rives would like to congratulate Pacific Energy Ventures and Ocean Power Technologies for receiving two of those awards.

The FOA, called the "Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Readiness Advancement Initiative," will solicit applications from industry-led partnerships that want to develop marine and hydrokinetic ("MHK") technologies at all levels of industry maturity.  However, unlike past rounds of funding, this time the DOE will be using MHK-specific technology readiness levels ("TRLs") to assess system and component maturity.  Preliminary definitions for the nine different proposed TRLs are included in the Notice of Intent.  The DOE will direct funding in two areas using the new TRLs:

  1. Concept Development– Funding in this area will focus on projects seeking to advance a novel concept from TRL 1-3 ("Discovery/Concept Definition") to TRL 4 ("Proof of Concept").  By funding these projects, the DOE hopes to stimulate technology breaktroughs.
  2. Technology Readiness Level Advancement– Funding in this area will be directed to projects focused on operational readiness.  Recipients will have established a proof of concept already and are moving toward laboratory or test facility validation of scale models, open water tests, operational verification, and commercial application. 

Developers should begin assembling their teams immediately because the DOE anticipates a short application deadline once the FOA is announced.  Remember that each applicant must be registered with FedConnect; each must have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System number (a "DUNS number"), and each must be registered with the Central Contractor Registry.