On July 6, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a funding opportunity for the research and development of wave energy converter (WEC) technologies for advancement toward wave energy commercial viability. As much as $27 million in federal funding is available for WEC technologies still in the early stages of development for testing at PacWave, an open ocean wave energy testing facility consisting of two sites, each located just a few miles from the deep-water port of Newport, OR.

This funding announcement is part of President Biden’s initiative to build a clean energy economy with the goal of achieving carbon emission-free electricity by 2035. WEC technologies have the promise to provide the United States with new sources of zero-emitting electricity, but are still in the early stages of development, and the industry has had limited opportunities to deploy and test cost-competitive WEC technologies. This funding opportunity is intended to help the wave energy industry gain the open water testing experience needed to accelerate the pace of technology development and to de-risk future PacWave testing campaigns and commercial WEC deployments. The solicitation provides for three topic areas: (1) the testing of WER technology for remote, microgrid, as well as open-source research and development; (2) WER designs that can be fabricated, deployed, and tested in future open water testing campaigns at PacWave, and (3) an open topic area that will support research and development projects at PacWave that advance WECs and supporting technologies. Individual awards may vary between $250 thousand and $9 million, and project technology can vary in size from utility-scale, grid-connected devices to smaller nonutility, non-grid-connected devices. There is a cost-sharing requirement for awards, which must be at least 10% of the total allowable costs for research and development projects.

The application process involves a concept paper submission due August 13, 2021 by 5 p.m. ET, followed by a full application submission due on October 5, 2021 also by 5 p.m. ET.