Federal omnibus spending bill also includes large allocations for U.S. marine energy research

Ocean

Further analysis of the federal omnibus appropriations bill signed by President Donald Trump last week reveal significant allocations for government-funded marine hydrokinetic research and development.

Included in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget are $70 million earmarked for the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts — up $11 million from the previous fiscal year — and $35 million for the U.S. Navy’s R&D programs.

A congressional memo says DOE’s money is earmarked specifically for “marine and hydrokinetic technology research, development and deployment activities, including research into the mitigation of marine ecosystem impacts”, Navy’s funds are to be applied to “alternative energy research”.

In addition to furthering commercialization of ocean, river and tidal technologies through the continued development of an open-water test site, DOE’s allocation also includes line items for:

  • $30 million for industry- and university-led basic and applied research and development, encompassing a pipeline of higher and lower technology readiness levels;
  • $8 million to support collaborations between the Marine Renewable Energy Centers and national laboratories; and
  • No less than $1 million to “prioritize the necessary infrastructure upgrades” at marine energy testing sites operated by the national laboratories or National Marine Renewable Energy Centers.

Meanwhile, the bill will also provide funding for the Navy to “continue research, development, test and deployment of advanced energy systems that have the potential to reduce the cost of energy and increase energy security, reliability and resiliency at Department of Defense facilities”, including the Wave Energy Test Site located in Hawaii.

More specific to the MHK sector, the Navy is to use its allocations to support the government’s 30-year R&D plan for “supporting energy harvesting, undersea sensor nets and unmanned underwater vehicle operations” in an effort to help safeguard assets from both physical and cyber security threats.
 

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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