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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 18, 2008 at 3:46 PM

Feds fund Northwest ventures making energy from the oceans

The Northwest did well in a round of Department of Energy grants for advanced water power projects announced today.

Of the 14 projects, three were in the region, including a major research venture between the University of Washington and Oregon State University.

Grants, as described in the release, include:

— Up to $600,000 per year over two years for Public Utility District No.1 of Snohomish County in Everett for “Puget Sound Tidal Energy In-Water Testing and Development Project.” SnoPUD will conduct in-water testing and demonstration of tidal flow technology as a first step toward potential construction of a commercial-scale power plant. The specific goal of this proposal is to complete engineering design and obtain construction approvals for a Puget Sound tidal pilot demonstration plant in the Admiralty Inlet region of the Sound.

— Up to $500,000 for Portland-based Pacific Energy Ventures’ “Siting Protocol for Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Projects.” Pacific Energy Ventures will bring together a multi-disciplinary team in an iterative and collaborative process to develop, review, and recommend how emerging hydrokinetic technologies can be sited to minimize environmental impacts.

— Up to $1.25 million per year for five years is going to Oregon State University and University of Washington for their Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, based at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore. The schools will partner to develop the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center with a full range of capabilities to support wave and tidal energy development for the U.S. Center activities are structured to facilitate device commercialization, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and close key gaps in understanding.

An OSU news release said the grants will combine with a total of $13.5 million for the energy center that will “help move the generation of energy from waves, ocean currents and tides from the laboratory to part of the nation’s alternative energy future.”

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