BOCA RATON, FL (August 5, 2010) — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated the Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) at Florida Atlantic University as a national center for ocean energy research and development. The new Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC) at FAU joins centers in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that also work to advance the operational readiness of ocean energy technologies. DOE will fund the SNMREC to undertake research and development of technologies capable of generating renewable energy from ocean currents and ocean thermal energy. FAU is ideally located to oversee the development of technologies that can generate sustainable, cost-competitive electricity from the ocean energy resources in the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream. With this competitively-selected investment, DOE is expanding the nation's assets for testing and deploying innovative new approaches to clean energy generation. Innovative approaches are crucial to addressing climate change and building a strong, renewable energy economy, both in Florida and across the nation.
"This is a very proud day for our University, our state and the nation," said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. "This prestigious, national designation of our Center for Ocean Energy Technology is a testimony to the expertise of our researchers and staff and their commitment to provide a viable source of clean, renewable energy for Florida citizens and beyond."
The SNMREC will collaborate with industry partners to investigate, refine, fabricate and test promising next-generation water power technologies to harness the ocean's vast energy potential. The Center's researchers have already begun this work by deploying ocean current observation systems, establishing research on environmental baselines to determine the level of potential effects, and initiating the fabrication of support structures for ocean energy devices. The Center will ultimately perform full-scale field testing of prototype devices, an important step toward the successful development of innovative new ocean energy systems. As a public institution of higher education, FAU will also promote public awareness of ocean energy research and development, and develop curricula for the education of a workforce for this new industry.
"The SNMREC's goals of advancing research and development of open-ocean current and ocean thermal energy systems, and building the capability, infrastructure, and strategic partnerships needed to develop, deploy and test commercially-viable ocean energy generation systems, is in direct alignment with the Department of Energy's goal of securing our energy future by producing more domestic, renewable energy," said Susan Skemp, executive director of FAU's COET. "We are extremely proud of this national designation and very appreciative of the support we have received from the state of Florida, the Department of Energy and our partners globally, who have been instrumental in helping us to achieve this major milestone."