Energy Department-funded Buoy Arrives in Hawaii for Testing

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Water Power Technologies Office


December 18, 2019

The Ocean Energy Buoy Arrives in Hawaii

On December 10, 2019 the WPTO-funded Ocean Energy Buoy arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a ribbon cutting ceremony before continuing on to the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site off the coast of O’ahu. The Ocean Energy Buoy is a wave energy converter with new reinforced composites, aluminum, and stainless steel to negate corrosion and survive in harsh ocean environments. 

OE energy buoy docked at pearl harbor

Both turbine and buoy performance will be measured on a grid-connected scale for a full year of deployment, never before seen in the United States. The 826-ton buoy was towed across the Pacific Ocean after leaving the Vigor shipyard in Portland, Oregon in October 2019.

Recipients Selected for FY2019 Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program

DOE selected 48 recipients for the $6.6 million FY2019 round of funding for the Hydroelectric Production Program under section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Qualified facilities were selected based on the number of kilowatt hours generated by the facility in calendar year 2018. The Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program provides funding for projects adding hydroelectric power generating capabilities to existing dams throughout the United States.

Visit WPTO’s EPACT 242 funding page to view the FY2019 selectees.

FY 2020 SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement

EERE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program issued a series of topics—including five for WPTO—in its Phase 1 Release 2 FY20 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on November 12, 2019. The below WPTO topics are focused on hydropower and marine energy and the last topic is applicable to both technology areas along with wind power.

  • Research and Development for Testing of Oil-Free Bearings/Bushings for Hydropower Components
  • Innovative Sensing Platforms for Water and Hydropower
  • Co-Development of Marine Energy Technology at Smaller Scales
  • Waterway Debris Remediation Powered by Marine Energy
  • Compact Power Conditioning Systems for High-Torque, Low-Speed Machines

An informational webinar on these topics and others are now available online.

U.S. Department of Energy Launches Plastics Innovation Challenge

The Plastics Innovation Challenge accelerates innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies. Over the coming weeks, DOE will release requests for information and host workshops to engage with stakeholders about the current barriers to plastic recycling technologies and shape the work that will bring those technologies to market. DOE also plans to announce funding opportunities and strategic partnerships to spur innovative solutions to plastics recycling.

Though plastics are used in thousands of products essential to modern life, waste is of increasing concern on global levels. The Plastics Innovation Challenge is led by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in collaboration with the Office of Science and other DOE programs.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Awards $75,000 for Innovative Fish Screen Solutions

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) awarded a shared $75,000 to six winners in its prize competition seeking innovative methods to exclude fish from water diversions and intakes. The competition addresses the limitations in current technology to exclude certain fish species and size classes in a cost-effective manner.

Fish screens are used at water diversions and intakes in freshwater rivers and estuaries to keep fish safe and in their natural environment.

WPTO is partnering with Reclamation on the next stage of the prize competition, which seeks written concepts that can be developed into a deployable research and testing prototype. This stage is anticipated to be launched in January 2020 and will have up to $700,000 in cash prizes and technical support through laboratory vouchers.

New Report: Submarine Cable Analysis for U.S. Marine Renewable Energy Development

A new DOE-funded National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report evaluated the potential overlap between U.S. marine renewable energy resources and existing footprints and spatial needs of the U.S. submarine telecommunications cable industry. Submarine cables are vital to the telecommunications industry, and marine renewable energy—including offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy—and has the potential to diversify the U.S. renewable energy portfolio, create jobs, and power the emerging blue economy.

Now Available: WPTO Semiannual Stakeholder Webinar

A recording of WPTO's stakeholder webinar held on Tuesday, November 5th is now available online. Program representatives highlighted key feedback received during discussions at the 2019 WPTO Peer Review, past year accomplishments, and upcoming priorities in 2020. The webinar is one of many opportunities the office is making available to improve transparency and engagement with the diverse groups of stakeholders interested in water power science and research.

WPTO-Funded Fish Passage Project in U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Report

The fish passage work of WPTO awardee, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was featured on page 66 in the USGS Energy and Wildlife Research Annual Report for 2019. The report summarizes projects conducted by USGS scientists and partners on the interactions of fish and wildlife with energy infrastructure, and the technical and management options that resource managers and industry can use to minimize risks and impacts to wildlife and industry. USGS was a partner on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst project.

Video: Pacific Marine Energy Center

A new video introduces and highlights the critical work of the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) to advance marine energy, featuring interviews with PMEC's three co-directors and footage from an array of PMEC research projects. PMEC is the umbrella organization that unifies testing, research and development, and educational programs in marine energy across the University of Washington, Oregon State University, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Video: Marine Sciences Laboratory

Located at the mouth of Sequim Bay on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) is DOE’s only coastal research facility. The MSL’s capabilities and facilities include vessels, a scientific dive team, and scientists and engineers with a wide range of experience. It also is home to the Triton initiative that supports development of advanced and cost-effective environmental monitoring technologies for marine renewable energy applications.

Follow @EEREGov on Twitter

EERE’s digital presence is growing! The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is now on Twitter at @EEREGov. You can connect with EERE through its other social platforms as well on Facebook, the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

In Case You Missed It

Due Soon: ARPA-E Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Applications

ARPA-E announced up to $43 million in funding to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that enable power generators to be responsive to grid conditions in a high variable renewable energy (VRE) penetration environment. The FLExible Carbon Capture and Storage (FLECCS) program seeks to develop technologies that address difficulties in decarbonization of electricity systems, focusing specifically on complications in CCS design, operations, and commercialization potential with the increasing penetration of high VRE sources such as wind and solar power. The deadline to submit a full application for FLECCS is 9:30 a.m. ET on December 23, 2019. Additional information, including the full FOA and how to find project teaming partners, is available on ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE.

Now Publicly Available, NREL’s ReEDS Model Expands Access to Inform the Power Sector

NREL’s newly available capacity planning model for the North American electricity system—known as Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS)—features high spatial resolution and advanced algorithms for renewable integration. 

Group of people standing underneath electrical tower with one person in the middle looking straight up at it.

ReEDS can simulate and inform a wide range of electricity sector decisions across a large suite of generating technologies, including fossil, nuclear, and renewable technologies, as well as transmission and storage expansion options.