Legislation introduced to encourage marine energy research in the U.S.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Angus King (I-Maine), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), have reintroduced The Marine Energy Research and Development Act, intended to increase production of low-carbon, renewable energy from the natural power in ocean waves, tides and currents.

This legislation provides federal resources to encourage private investments in renewable energy projects that use the power in oceans to produce electricity.

“Americans want cleaner and more affordable electricity fueling their homes,” Wyden said. “Harnessing the power of ocean waves, tides and currents will bring us closer to the low-carbon, renewable future desperately needed.”

King said: “Maine’s coastline helps power our economy and our communities — why shouldn’t it also help power our electric grid? “Maine has abundant marine resources that can be used to create clean, renewable energy and reduce our reliance on dirty fuels that harm our environment. This legislation takes an important step forward to develop the energies of the futures, which will reduce both emissions and costs to consumers.”

The Marine Energy Research and Development Act reauthorizes marine renewable energy programs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Those programs include the national marine renewable energy research, development and demonstration centers found around the country — including one operated by Oregon State University. The legislation also directs DOE to research ways to build a stable marine energy supply chain in the U.S., as well as ways to harmonize marine energy development with ocean navigation, fisheries and critical infrastructure such as undersea cables.

“Marine energy is the least utilized form of renewable energy and holds incredible promise to sustainably power economic growth,” said Dr. Bryson Robertson, co-Director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) at Oregon State University. “The Marine Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 would facilitate the advancement of needed research, technology development, and testing to accelerate the market viability of innovative systems that can sustainably harness and convert the incredible power of our oceans, rivers, and tides for electricity. PMEC is pleased that Senator Wyden is leading this important legislation.”

Click here to read the text of the bill.

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