The U.S. Department of Energy released two reports last week detailing the country's ocean wave and tidal resource energy potential. Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource report is a follow-up to the Electric Power Research Institute's 2004 study, with the most recent evidence suggesting a 26 percent increase in wave energy resources.
The Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States, led by researchers at Georgia Tech Research Corporation in collaboration with DOE, is the first of its kind in the U.S. and includes a geographic information systems (GIS) tool available for public use. The report data concludes that U.S. water power resources, including ocean wave, tidal and conventional hydropower, have the potential to provide 15 percent of our nation's electricity by 2030.
The wave energy assessment concludes that the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast (Washington, Oregon and California) and Alaska encompass the greatest available wave energy resources in the U.S. The report also outlines the wave energy potential along the East Coast from Maine through North Carolina, and from South Carolina through Florida as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska's Bering Sea, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The tidal energy assessment designates and details data for energy resource 'hot spots' across the U.S. including Alaska, Maine, Washington, Oregon, California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
"The release of both reports demonstrates the attainable energy potential of our nation's vast ocean resources,” OREC president Sean O'Neill said. "DOE's investment in these studies, as well as the corresponding results, is a testament to the importance of our unique opportunity to pursue a diverse energy portfolio that includes wave and tidal energy in an effort to secure our energy supply, create jobs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”