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NREL Documents United States’ Marine Energy Opportunities

Marine Energy In the United States

While marine energy technologies are still at the relatively early stages of development in the United States, their resource potential is immense and distributed widely across the nation’s coastlines and rivers.  To document these opportunities, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently reported on them during February 2021.

Focusing on technically recoverable marine energy resources that can be captured using utility-scale technologies, the report was written at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office to provide a concise and consolidated summary of the location and quantity of utility-scale wave, tidal current, ocean current such as that targeted by OceanBased Perpetual Energy, ocean thermal, and river hydrokinetic resources.  It is intended to help improve understanding of the locations and characteristics of the resources and how they might contribute to the future energy portfolio of the United States.

Further, the NREL report refines the analysis published to date by identifying the marine energy resources available in each state or region to the extent practical.  In short, it summarizes the best available data on U.S. marine energy resources at the state, regional and national scales.

To frame the discussion about marine energy, NREL uses the following International Electrotechnical Commission definitions:

Theoretical resource—the energy available in the resource

Technical resource—the proportion of the theoretical resource that can be captured using existing technology options

Practical resource—the proportion of the technical resource that is available after consideration of “external constraints,” defined as the socioeconomic, environmental, regulatory and other competing-use constraints that determine whether a project is viable at a specific site.

To view the NREL report, click here.