By Dan McDonald
NEW BEDFORD — The federal government has given the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center $1.5 million in grants for research of ocean-based energy.
The money includes $750,000 for annual operations and $750,000 for advanced techniques for assessing offshore wind and hydrokinetic renewable energy sources such as waves and tides.
The Purchase Street-based center’s mission is to develop ocean-based energy in New England.
The group is studying a 10-by-30-mile swath that is located about 30 miles south of the Muskeget Channel, which basically runs between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, said Dr. John Miller, Marine Renewable Energy Center executive director. The grant, according to the center, will help determine how best to harness such resources.
Existing technologies, said Miller, “require extensive and expensive on-site monitoring and are usable for only a limited area.”
The grant will allow the center to explore the use of radar, ladar and sodar, said Miller. Such technology would allow the center a more cost-effective and quicker way to look at a larger area of ocean.
The grants show that “nationally, people recognize the potential for development marine energy resources in New England,” said Miller.
Dr. Eugene Terray of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the technical leader on the project and said through a statement Thursday that the technologies should help “significantly accelerate the economic impact of offshore renewable energy in the U.S.”
The project involves five major academic institutions, including Woods Hole, UMass Amherst and UMass Dartmouth, the University of Hawaii and the University of Washington.
NOTE: MREC has been strongly supported by Congressmen Barney Frank, Frank Delahunt and James McGovern.
September 17, 2010 12:00 AM