U.S. Selected to Host International Virtual Event on Marine Energy
By Paul Gay, Co-Chair, National Hydropower Association’s Marine Energy Council
Marine energy industry experts from throughout the world will soon set their (virtual) gaze toward Washington, D.C., for the upcoming 2021 International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE). Held once every two years, ICOE is the premiere global marine energy event and will be hosted by the United States for the first time. The goal of the conference and exhibition, to be held April 28-30, with the National Hydropower Association serving as the lead organizer, is to accelerate the advancement of marine energy technologies.
The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2050 over 300 gigawatts (GW) of marine energy capacity will be installed globally, which represents $35 billion in investment, creation of 680,000 direct jobs, and annual savings of 500 million tons of CO2 emissions. Deployment of marine energy at scale in the U.S. will increase economic growth, create thousands of high-value jobs, and promote exports in technology manufacturing and related services. In the U.S., the sector is making advancements, evidenced by significant recent developments (examples below).
ICOE 2021 will attract international industry stakeholders, researchers, experts, and exhibitors working in marine energy as well as other ocean sectors. These participants will share recent experiences from research, demonstration, and deployment efforts. The event also will stimulate collaboration networks among businesses and research and technology development centers. With the Biden/Harris Administration rejoining the Paris Climate Treaty and its “Build Back Better” plan to respond to climate change, ICOE is well timed to create new linkages and shine a spotlight on the latest U.S. technology development and deployment efforts.
“Marine energy has the potential to power millions of homes and newly emerging blue economy markets with clean renewable electricity,” said Malcolm Woolf, president and CEO of NHA. “We are pleased to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems intergovernmental group to host the ICOE event and bring together the international marine community to discuss device innovation, new market developments, and regulatory frameworks to spur commercialization.”
NHA’s Marine Energy Council (MEC) has been working closely with a steering committee of international experts to create the conference program for ICOE. The MEC is the leading trade organization of the U.S. marine energy industry, providing a united voice for the full spectrum of marine energy technologies. “We’re excited to gather the international community to showcase recent U.S. marine energy technology research and deployments,” said Reenst Lesemann, co-chair of the Council and CEO of marine energy developer C-Power.
Two recent U.S. marine energy advancements point to why it makes sense for the U.S. to host ICOE.
PacWave – Testing Wave Energy for the Future
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently finalized the lease for PacWave, an offshore, grid-connected wave energy test facility being developed by Oregon State University (OSU). PacWave will have a 25-year, 20-MW hydroelectric license with four test berths that could collectively support the testing of up to 20 wave energy devices. The facility will occupy up to 2 square nautical miles in federal waters about 6.5 nautical miles off the coast of Newport, Oregon. The lease approval puts OSU one step closer toward initiating construction of PacWave later in 2021.
PacWave will provide key capabilities to support the mission of the DOE Water Power Technologies Office to develop and deploy innovative marine energy systems. PacWave will offer a unique facility where researchers and testing clients can prove concepts and cost reduction expectations. Industry will also be able to leverage the extensive experience of the research and testing team at the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), comprised of elements from Oregon State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project
After years of technology development and testing, Verdant Power deployed its array of three fifth-generation tidal power turbines on a single TriFrame™ Mount during October 2020 at the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project site in New York City’s East River. The project is demonstrating marine energy as a distributed power resource by delivering electricity directly into Manhattan buildings through Con Edison’s distribution grid.
Verdant Power recently reported that the one-half scale tidal turbine system has exceeded expectations and generated more than 100 megawatt-hours of electricity in only 85 days of continuous operation. The turbines have performed at 100 percent availability during the three months since deployment, said Trey Taylor, co-founder and chief commercial officer for Verdant Power. “We are on track to generate more than 430 megawatt-hours per year into the local grid,” said Taylor.
In addition, Verdant Power is working with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to assess the power performance of the Verdant turbines. This demonstration project will support Verdant Power’s effort to secure the first internationally recognized Renewable Energy Test Report (RETR) through the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The RETR will verify Verdant’s compliance with formulated international standards and underscore buyer, financial, and insurance confidence in Verdant Power systems on a global basis, thereby improving export opportunities.