US Senators present bill to boost tidal and wave sector

Illustration/Azura wave energy device (Photo: US DOE)

Five US Senators have introduced a legislation set to increase domestic production of renewable energy from ocean’s waves, tides, and currents.

The bill, titled Marine Energy Act, reauthorizes marine renewable energy programs at the US Department of Energy from 2018 through 2022.

The bill also includes funding authorization for the national marine renewable energy research centers, which are located in Florida, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.

These three centers make use of federal funding and the resources of five universities to test and refine various marine energy technologies.

The bill also directs US Department of Energy to research ways of building a stable marine energy supply chain in the United States, as well as ways of harmonizing marine energy development with ocean navigation, fisheries, and critical infrastructure such as undersea cables.

Ron Wyden, Senator of Oregon, said: “Capturing the energy found in ocean waves, tides and currents right off the Oregon coast means producing more clean energy and more clean energy jobs. Marine energy has the potential to provide a nearly inexhaustible source of homegrown renewable electricity to power American homes and businesses while addressing the very real challenge of climate change.”

Mazie Hirono, Senator for Hawaii, said. “Advancing next-generation marine energy through research, development, and demonstration is key to ensuring Hawaii achieves its bold vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. This important legislation will help accelerate the ongoing work of our state’s energy research teams to create jobs and find innovative solutions to cleaner energy.”

The bill was introduced US Senators Ron Wyden (Oregon), Angus King (Maine), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) on May 3, 2017.

It passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last year, and it was included in a broader, bipartisan energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which passed the Senate in April 2016.

US Department of Energy estimates that marine energy could produce enough renewable energy to power more than 200 million American homes, which is nearly double the current number of US housing units.

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