Several new wave and tidal energy devices are to be deployed in US waters after the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a total of $37 million to projects aimed at developing marine energy technologies.

The DOE has awarded £10 million to both Ocean Renewable Power Company and the Snohmish County Public Utility District (PUD) in Washington state, as well as $4.8 million to Ocean Power Technologies. Another 24 projects have also been granted funding.

In a project valued at over $21 million, Ocean Renewable Power is to build, install, operate and monitor a commercial-scale array of five grid-connected TidGen devices on the sea floor in Cobscook Bay, Maine. The project will be implemented in two phases over three years and will help to advance the technical, operational and environmental goals of the tidal energy industry as a whole, says the DOE.

“This funding represents the largest single investment of federal funding to date in the development of marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “These innovative projects will help grow water power’s contribution to America’s clean energy economy.”

The Snohmish County PUD is planning to deploy, operate and monitor two 10 m diameter Open-Centre turbines in a $20.1 million project with OpenHydro Group. The units will be installed in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound and will generate 1 MW of energy during periods of peak tidal currents.

Ocean Power Technologies, meanwhile, will use $2.4 million of DOE funds to deploy a full-scale 150 kW PowerBuoy wave energy converter off the Oregon coast and collect two years of operating data. The project is part of Ocean Power Technologies’ plans to develop the USA’s first commercial wave power project.

Ocean Power Technologies has been granted a further $2.4 million by the DOE for the design and development of the company’s next-generation 500 kW PowerBuoy wave system.

“These awards are another significant step in a global drive to make wave power a commercial reality,” said Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Power Technologies. “The funds will help OPT to accelerate the commercialization of our PB150 wave power stations in the US and facilitate the development of our 500 kW-rated PowerBuoy technology.”