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U.S. Senate Proposes Increased Funding for Ocean Energy Research and Development


Last week, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Energy and Water Development budget proposal and includes $43,500,000 for Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) technology research.

"This action by the Senate Appropriations committee provides critically needed R&D funding for new and emerging marine and hydrokinetic technologies. The Senate underscores the importance of providing for a cleaner, sustainable energy future while supporting job creation and economic development.” said Sean O'Neill, OREC's president. "The Senate continues to provide leadership and a keen understanding of near term and long term priorities as they forge energy policy.”

The United States has significant marine energy resources.  Approximately 1,420 TWh per year, or roughly one-third, of the total U.S.annual electricity usage could be satisfied by the electricity generated from waves and tidal currents.  The Department of Energy (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.  Nearly every form of electric generation has received government funding support and the nascent marine energy industry seeks similar federal assistance to develop promising technologies that are on the verge of commercial viability.

 "The U.S. Senate and DOE are aligning the resources required to bring this industry into responsible commercialization and, in so doing, leveraging these resources to provide long term energy security.” 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.

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.

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.

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