The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Washington (UW) sponsored by the US Department of Energy. NNMREC develops and maintains capabilities that support wave and tidal energy development in the US. The Center facilitates device commercialization, informs regulatory and policy decisions, and closes key gaps in the understanding of marine energy.
The US marine renewable energy industry lacks infrastructure to evaluate wave energy conversion (WEC) devices, inhibiting their commercialization and use. Therefore, NNMREC is developing a Mobile Ocean Test Berth with support from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). This academic/industry team collaborates with WEC developers to specify, design, and build the Test Berth. The team consults local communities seeking ways for wave energy to coexist with commercial maritime activities that sustain coastal economies.
The Test Berth is a mobile, floating, ocean deployable capability for rigorous, in-situ WEC evaluation without an electrical grid connection. Mobility allows testing at multiple sites to demonstrate WEC effectiveness before installation. The Test Berth will include a power analysis and data acquisition module with “plug and play” capabilities to accommodate different input power configurations, allowing device control, adjustable loading for device characterization, power analysis, data storage, and telemetry to shore. This approach and its flexibility will deliver precise technical results for device developers, utilities, regulatory agencies, and community stakeholders.
The Mobile Ocean Test Berth will provide technical data to evaluate WEC operation without high infrastructure costs and assist with the development of uniform standards for WEC testing. The Test Berth is an important facility that will test WEC devices in the field, demonstrate sub-scale or full-scale systems, advance WEC technology, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and explore wave energy's contribution to renewable energy portfolios.