OREC Disappointed in House Funding for Ocean Energy
The Congressional House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released their Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Energy and Water Development budget proposal yesterday and cut $911 million for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Programs. The Water Power R&D program received $24 million, a 60 percent reduction from the funding level set by Congress in FY13. This EERE program is charged with supporting efforts to research, test and develop innovative technologies capable of generating clean and affordable electricity from water resources.
"This is disappointing news for the U.S. water power industry and the country as a whole," said Sean O'Neill, OREC's president. "Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies, including wave, current and tidal, have demonstrated substantial progress and offer the promise to deliver clean, affordable and American made energy, jobs and economic development."
MHK technologies generate electricity from predictable and forecastable waves, tidal flows, currents and in-stream sources. The United States has significant marine energy resources, and with more than fifty percent of the American population living within 50 miles of the coast, a cost-effective MHK industry could provide a substantial amount of electricity for the nation.
In 2012 DOE released two nationwide resource assessments which demonstrate that the waves and tidal currents off the country's coasts could contribute significantly to the United States' total annual electricity production. Approximately 1,420 TWh per year, or roughly one-third, of the total annual electricity usage could theoretically be satisfied by the electricity generated from waves and tidal currents. DOE is currently developing an aggressive strategy to support its vision of producing at least fifteen percent of our nation's electricity from water power by 2030.
Commercialization of technologies to harness marine renewable energy resources will require federal funding to augment research, development, and deployment efforts already underway in the private sector. Just as the wind and solar industries have received DOE funding support for over two decades (which has resulted in the rapid deployment of these technologies in recent years), the nascent marine energy industry seeks similar federal assistance to develop promising technologies that are on the verge of commercial viability.
"The House appropriation for marine renewables is seemingly misaligned with the DOE-funded resource assessments and outlook for the potential of water power technologies to deliver electricity to the grid," stated O'Neill. "OREC will continue to work with its supporters in Congress to secure a stable level of funding and help MHK commercialization efforts by member organizations."
About the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition
The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) is the only national trade association exclusively dedicated to promoting marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies from clean, renewable ocean resources. Founded in 2005, the Coalition comprises technology developers, consultants, law firms, investor-owned utilities, publicly owned utilities, universities, and scientific and engineering firms. The coalition is working with industry leaders, academic scholars, and other interested NGO's to encourage ocean renewable technologies and raise awareness of their vast potential to help secure an affordable, reliable, environmentally friendly energy future.
OREC seeks a legislative and regulatory regime in the U.S. that fosters the growth of ocean renewable technologies, their commercial development, and support in the race to capture the rich energy potential of our oceans. While other countries have already deployed viable, operating, power generating projects using the emission-free power of ocean waves, currents, and tidal forces, the U.S. is only beginning to acknowledge the importance of these technologies.