This fact sheet describes the offshore renewable energy R&D efforts at NREL's NWTC. As the United States increases its efforts to tap the domestic energy sources needed to diversify its energy portfolio and secure its energy supply, more attention is being focused on the rich renewable resources located offshore. Offshore renewable energy sources include offshore wind, waves, tidal currents, ocean and river currents, and ocean thermal gradients.

According to a report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2010,1 U.S. offshore wind resources have a gross potential generating capacity four times greater than the nation's present electric capacity, and the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the nation's ocean energy resources could ultimately supply at least 10% of its electric supply. For more than 30 years, NREL has advanced the science of renewable energy while building the capabilities to guide rapid deployment of commercial applications.

Since 1993, NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) has been the nation's premier wind energy research facility, specializing in the advancement of wind technologies that range in size from a kilowatt to several megawatts. For more than 8 years, the NWTC has been an international leader in the field of offshore floating wind system analysis. Today, researchers at the NWTC are taking their decades of experience and extensive capabilities and applying them to help industry develop cost-effective hydrokinetic systems that convert the kinetic energy in water to provide power for our nation's heavily populated coastal regions. The center's capabilities and experience cover a wide spectrum of wind and water energy engineering disciplines, including atmospheric and ocean fluid mechanics, aerodynamics; aeroacoustics, hydrodynamics, structural dynamics, control systems, electrical systems, and testing...(read more...)