Renewable Energy Research (REnR)
The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCS Lands Act), authorizing the Secretary of Interior to issue leases on the OCS for activities that produce or support production, transportation, or transmission of energy from sources other than oil and gas. These new activities must accommodate the EPAct requirement that any activity be carried out in a manner that provides for safety of operations and protection of the environment.
Because of the strong desire of the nation to furnish more of our power
needs from renewable sources, many innovative new ideas are surfacing.
Although offshore wind farms have been in existence in Europe for
several years, the US OCS presents a unique operating environment. The
water depth in many areas of the US OCS preclude the use of the
traditional wind farm foundation types, and hurricanes and the
open-ocean environment present distinctive challenges. Much is known
about the environmental conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, and to a
lesser extent, areas on the OCS offshore of California and Alaska.
order to design facilities on the Atlantic and mid/northern Pacific,
information is required on seabed topography, bathymetry, sediment
types, and meteorological andoceanographic conditions. It is envisioned
that floating wind turbines and other untested technologies will be
presented in the near future that will require establishing minimally
acceptable design standards for permitting their deployment.
The BSEE has also developed the capability to test wave and current energy conversion devices at the Ohmsett wave and tow tank (OHMSETT Fact Sheet)1.17mb PDF. Located in Leonardo NJ, this tank is one of the largest saltwater tanks in North America and is designed to evaluate the performance of meso-scale sized equipment under realistic but safe environmental conditions. It is able to generate up to one meter waves, and tow speeds up to 6.5 knots. The tank can be utilized for private research as well as those activities sponsored by BSEE.