The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) recently released two new nationwide resource assessments for wave and tidal energy projects in the U.S. The reports, funded by the DOE and prepared by the Electric Power Research Institute ("EPRI") and the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, present the most rigorous and comprehensive analysis to date on the magnitude of the resources available for electricity generation and where those resources are located.
Wave Energy: The wave energy report, “Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource” states (as most expected) that the best resources are on the West Coast, including Alaska and Hawai’i. EPRI calculated the resource’s potential to be 400 gigawatts nationally.
Tidal Energy: The tidal energy report, “Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States” follows on the heels of the DOE’s release of its interactive national tidal resource database in July 2011. For more on the database and relevant links, see my blog on the topic.
Ocean Current, Ocean Thermal Gradients, and New Hydropower: In addition to these two new reports, the DOE anticipates releasing additional resource assessments for developers of ocean current, ocean thermal gradient, and new hydropower projects.
Based on our experience assisting clients to develop wave, current, and tidal energy projects across the country, we are encouraged by both the results of the resource assessments and the DOE’s encouraging perspective on the role that new hydropower and hydrokinetic projects should have in expanding the nation’s renewable energy resource mix.
For detailed information on all aspects of marine and hydrokinetic project development, download a PDF of our recently updated Law of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy.