DOE looking for tech boom with new Wave Energy Prize

Wave Energy

A new prize purse announced by the U.S. Department of Energy could feed more than $2 million into wave energy technology research and development.

Introduced today by DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Assistant Secretary Dave Danielson during the keynote session of the National Hydropower Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., the program — called the Wave Energy Prize — is intended to “reduce the cost of wave energy, making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.”

The announcement is of particular interest to those attending the International Marine Renewable Energy Conference (IMREC) and Marine Energy Technology Symposium (METS), which are, for the first time, co-located with NHA’s annual meeting.

“For this exciting new prize competition, we’re challenging you — our key stakeholders in the industry — to double the energy captured from ocean waves by developing new ocean wave energy converter technology” Danielson said. “[The Wave Energy Prize] will not only result in some fascinating new concepts, but will also open up new technology for the industry as it moves forward more and more rapidly.”

The program includes a 20-month design-build-test competition that offers seed money and an opportunity to participate in two rounds of testing, with those selected for the second round of competition given a chance to test scaled wave energy conversion (WEC) devices at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin at Carderock, Md., beginning Summer 2016.

“The winning devices will help create new possibilities to reduce costs and move wave energy even closer to widespread commercialization,” Danielson said.

Programs like the Wave Energy Prize are becoming increasingly popular, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo said, as federal agencies look for innovative ways of engaging private sector developers.

“By reaching beyond existing communities of interest, prize challenges source out-of-discipline perspectives that can yield outstanding and novel solutions,” Dorgelo said. “This effort brings new perspectives to the table with minimal risk.”

Registration for the Wave Energy Prize is scheduled to remain open until June 15. For more information, visit

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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