Pacific Northwest Researchers Win Funding from U.S. Department of Energy for Three Water-Power Projects

In the Northwest, it’s all about the hydro. Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced grants to 14 research teams around the country, with the goal of developing cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources based on water power. Three of the contracts will be based in Washington and Oregon, which have traditionally been strong in hydro energy systems. We’ll see how far these projects go towards establishing the Northwest as a leading cleantech center.

—Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) and the University of Washington (Seattle, WA) have won up to $1.25 million for up to five years to collaborate and support wave and tidal energy, facilitate commercialization of devices, and help policymakers get information. The universities are planning to build a new center called the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, based in Oregon. Construction is slated to begin in 2010.

—Public Utility District #1 of Snohomish County, based in Everett, WA, has won up to $600,000 for up to two years to test and demonstrate technology that could lay the groundwork for a commercial-scale tidal power plant. The goal is to do the engineering design and get construction approvals for a demonstration plant in the Admiralty Inlet region of Puget Sound.

—Pacific Energy Ventures, based in Portland, OR, has won up to $500,000 to develop and review wave and tidal energy technologies and recommend how to find locations for facilities that minimize their environmental impact.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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