Annual Report 2016
Country Reports


Steven Bushong, Alison LaBonte and Ann Dallman U.S. Department of Energy


In November 2016, the Program hosted the Wave Energy Prize Innovation Showcase - the culmination of an 18-month design-build-test competition - at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in West Bethesda, Maryland. Nine finalist teams tested their 1/20-scale model wave energy converter (WEC) devices in the nation’s most advanced wave-making facility—the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Maneuvering and Seakeeping Basin. Three teams were awarded with cash prizes totalling more than $2 million at the showcase. AquaHarmonics from Portland, Oregon, won the grand prize by demonstrating a five-fold improvement in wave energy capture per characteristic cost.  The Wave Energy Prize was a catalyst for a technology leap to drive down the cost of wave energy and help the sector achieve commercialization faster.

In March 2016, the Water Power Technologies Office gathered more than 75 executive members from the Department of Energy, national laboratories, and the marine energy industry for the Executive Summit on Marine and Hydrokinetic Research and Development in Washington, D.C. Attendees learned about the DOE’s MHK investments in the national laboratories and identified activities ripe for technology transfer. Attendees had the unique opportunity to hear firsthand about the important innovations in the MHK research community and DOE’s Small Business Voucher Pilot program, as well as engage in a discussion about DOE’s research and development priorities.

In April, Washington, D.C., hosted Waterpower Week, which brought three events under one roof: National Hydropower Association’s Annual Conference, the International Marine Renewable Energy Conference (IMREC), and Marine Energy Technology Symposium. Representatives from DOE, the national laboratories, and the water power sector participated in the events. Supported by DOE, IMREC featured a Wave Energy Prize showcase where finalists displayed their different WEC technologies. DOE also hosted a workshop to help inform a Marine and Hydrokinetic energy strategic plan for the United States.

The United States deployed its first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016. With the commissioning of the Block Island Wind Farm by Deepwater Wind, renewable ocean energy is becoming a topic of great interest for other coastal states. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hosted the California Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in November 2016 at University of California, Davis. At the conference, NREL ocean renewable energy technologists met with colleagues from the sector to share information about California’s offshore renewable energy resources and their technology status. Ocean wave and tidal energy topics included information on U.S. wave and tidal energy resources, global activities, technology types, R&D, and deployments. The conference held a panel session to discuss the human dimensions of the ocean renewable energy industry, which focused on potential jobs and economic development benefits from the use of ocean renewables in California. Additional information on the conference is available on the BOEM website at


In December 2016, the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center (CEIC) hosted its year-end Laboratory- Investor Knowledge Series (LINKS) in Menlo Park, California, at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).

Nearly 40 participants representing the investment community (including venture capital firms and philanthropic organizations), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the White House were in attendance to highlight the anticipated release of the Laboratory Partnering Service (LPS) in January 2017, a new tool to facilitate access to and enable partnerships with DOE national laboratories. The event included a presentation on the U.S. wave and tidal ocean energy resources, the development status of these technologies, and a synopsis of the Wave Energy Prize competition results. Attendees were introduced to DOE’s research and development initiatives to commercialize economically competitive wave and tidal energy technologies. For addition information on the meeting and the DOE Clean Energy Investment Center visit their website at: