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Marine Renewable Energy Research at CSP

Marine Renewable EnergyWhile the Coastal Systems Program (CSP) was established to provide research quality information to address the growing ecological degradation of coastal ecosystems, CSP scientists also have been using a broad suite of tools and  investigative approaches to characterize sites in near shore waters relative to their viability for generation of renewable energy from tidal/ocean currents and waves. The characterizations of hydrokinetic potential of a location and associated environmental assessment has been conducted using an assortment of oceanographic instrumentation ranging from high precision acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP) to temperature-depth recorders, bathymetric surveying instruments with linked differential GPS, sediment analysis, assessment of scour, and ecological surveys of benthic animals, plankton and habitat mapping with chemical/biological measures supported by a full analytical facility.  The SMAST-CSP is using its field and laboratory resources and that of its long-time collaborators in order to cost effectively provide high end, research quality scientific service to advance the marine renewable energy sector.

The SMAST-CSP group is leveraging its current work to serve as a provider of scientific service to municipalities, states, industry, the University’s Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC) and the United States Department of Energy (DoE) as regards the research and development of marine renewable energy (ocean/tidal currents and wave).  While the CSP activity in the marine renewable energy area is to fulfill the above mission, the effort is supported in part by specific projects as well as its role in MREC. These specific projects relate to both the development of the MREC technology test site and the development of sites (FERC permit areas) and other coastal regions in the Western Hemisphere.  Two sites of recent effort (Maine, Massachusetts) have had detailed energy / environmental surveys by CSP scientists to quantify the physical, biological and ecological characteristics in support of technology deployments.

One of the main objectives of the CSP efforts in marine renewable energy research is generating new and expanded joint activities that respond to the priorities of states and countries (nationally and internationally) such that: a) marine renewable energy projects with the best value to the United States and partnering Nations can be designed and implemented in a sustainable and low impact manner, and (b) continuing growth in the undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities is promoted in the important areas of marine research, renewable energy and environmental policy such that the growing demand for trained personnel in the marine renewable energy sector will be met over the next several decades as the field evolves..

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