The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reportedly announced federal funding of around USD 27 million for research & development projects that emphasize on wave energy technology.
The DOE apparently stated that the wave energy sector is yet in its nascent stage and that this fund announcement is an attempt to promote innovation in this sector. These funds will be utilized to upgrade the wave energy tech and make it commercially viable.
Projects allocated with these funds will perform their research activities at the PacWave South facility located off the Oregon coast.
The DOE, the State of Oregon and others have provided grants for the construction of PacWave South, which began in June 2021 and is expected to be complete by 2023.
The DOE funds will be divided into three pots- USD 15 million will be allotted for conducting tests on wave energy converter technology, around USD 7 million will be provided to the R&D activities related to wave energy, and around USD 5 million will be allotted to the design modifications of PacWave’s wave energy converter.
Jennifer M. Granholm, the U.S. Energy Secretary, reportedly stated that with the inclusion of wave energy, it will be easier to provide additional renewable power to the grid and offer sustainable energy to communities located in remote areas.
Although the allocation of funds is a welcome move, initial figures obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showcased that if the country needs to fully rely on renewable energy sources, a lot of work still needs to be done.
As per EIA, coal and natural gas generated around 19.3% and 40.3% of utility-scale electricity respectively. However, the total share of electricity generation for renewable sources was only 19.8%.
The United States is not the only region to show interest in developing wave energy technologies. Europe also has a flourishing wave energy sector, with several companies currently working on different systems.