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Bourne Tidal Turbine Test Site Awarded FERC License; First in the U.S.

Photo of Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS), Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts

Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS), Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts

April 23, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Stephen Barrett
+1-508-728-5825
MRECNewEngland@Gmail.com

Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts – April 17, 2024

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) has been awarded an 8-year pilot license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to test marine renewable energy- generating tidal turbines at the Bourne Tidal Test Site in Bourne, Massachusetts. The Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) is the only tidal test site in the U.S. to have obtained such a license. This license allows turbines to generate renewable electricity directly to the grid.

BTTS provides tidal turbine developers an unmatched capability for testing prototypes up to 3 meters in diameter. The FERC license will allow the test site operator, MRECo, to manage the testing of tidal turbines in the fast moving ocean waters of the Cape Cod Canal. Aspects of the testing include turbine efficiency, generation capacity, durability, and potential environmental effects.

Developing new turbine technologies in very challenging and costly. University test tanks can only test small prototypes and components of less than one meter. Testing large devices in the ocean requires extensive permitting that is costly and time consuming. This has slowed development of new technologies. The BTTS was designed to solve this problem.

The BTTS was designed and constructed with Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council funding to address the test site shortage. It has a fixed test stand without the flow disruption resulting from testing off of barges or bulkheads. A lifting arm enables easy access for tidal turbines while the stability allows better accuracy from sensor. It is the only test site with these capabilities in the U.S. and perhaps the world.

MRECo is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the sustainable development of ocean renewable energy. MRECo is also advancing testing of wave energy generators in Massachusetts water. It has been estimated that tidal energy could provide one tenth of the world’s electricity needs and Massachusetts waters could generate the equivalent of a nuclear power plant. Tidal energy has been shown to have minimal impact on the environment because the blades turn slowly and placed on the ocean bottom has no visible impact on coastal beaches.

John Miller, the MRECo Executive Director, noted, “To meet climate change challenges, we need all the sources of renewable energy available. Tidal energy is an important piece of the mix because it is reliable, predictable, and available along coasts where population densities are highest. New England has the intellectual capital available in its universities to lead in developing this source and BTTS provides a critical tool. Thirty years ago Professor Gorlov from Northeastern University invented a new type of turbine with helical blades and tested it at the site where BTTS is located. That technology has been commercialized and is being deployed in Alaska and exported to Chile. Its time for the next generation and we are ready.”

BTTS photo

BTTS

Turbine Testing photo

Turbine Testing

Sensor Testing - Acoustic Imaging

Sensor Testing - Acoustic Imaging photo

 

BTTS also hosts the Marine Observatory for Sensor Testing (MOST), a site that allows cost effective long term testing of ocean sensors.

 


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The New England Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) is a nonprofit corporation that educates and involves all stakeholders (Academic, industry, governmental/regulatory, and public interest groups) to promote the sustainable development of renewable energy in New England ocean waters.

To do this, MRECo must establish:

Download a copy of our new BTTS brochure!

Updated 12/2/2017!

  • Processes and relationships to allow effective transfer of technology from universities to industry.
  •  A world class academic consortium to train the workforce of the future and to assist industry with basic and applied research.
  • An industry user group to elicit research needs and to assist in advocating.
  • Permanent ocean test sites to facilitate research and demonstration.
  • Involvement of public interest groups to minimize ocean ecosystem impact.

News of Interest!

Cape Cod Times logo

Cape Cod Times –  May 13, 2024

Harnessing the tides. Cape Cod Canal site gets federal OK to test water-powered turbines

A U.S. Coast Guard boat steams past in 2021 as workers prepare to deploy a tidal turbine onto a lift arm on a platform just west of the railroad bridge on the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzards Bay. The site is used to test technology that would allow tidal waters to produce electric power.

Cape Codders and Islanders know about harnessing ocean winds to create renewable energy.

The region has become a pioneer with the nation's first large-scale offshore wind farm — Vineyard Wind.

Now Cape Cod may be on the cusp of being a national trail blazer for another green technology, one that uses the power of the ocean itself — and, by extension, the moon — to make electricity.

Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative, a Marion nonprofit that promotes sustainable development of renewable energy in New England ocean waters, has secured an 8-year pilot license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to test prototypes of turbines that harness tides to create energy.

[ Read the complete story. >>> ]

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Contact: John Miller, Executive Director, Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative;  508-728-5825; director@mreconewengland.org

Army Corps License Extension Granted to Bourne Tidal Test Site

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England (MRECo) announced that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has renewed its license for the Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS), allowing them to conduct an extended test, starting in October, of a new tidal energy technology developed by Littoral Power Systems, Inc. of New Bedford MA.  This test will allow MRECo to demonstrate the capability of BTTS to provide a controlled test environment in ocean waters for new hydrokinetic technologies.  BTTS is a test berth for marine energy technologies and underwater sensors located near the Buzzards Bay end of the Cape Cod Canal.

“Harvesting energy from ocean currents is emerging as an enormous global opportunity. It is predictable, environmentally benign, and makes no claims on land space.  It is fair to say that the market is much more advanced in Europe and the U.K. than is currently the case in the USA.  BTTS’s pre-permitted and instrumented test capability will allow rapid domestic progress on marine energy devices in a real-world environment,” remarked David Duquette, CEO of Littoral Power Systems, Inc.

The USACE license extension allows testing to proceed while MRECo applies for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, which will enable the organization to connect to the electrical grid.  Additionally, MRECo is working toward BTTS’s receiving approval under the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office’s Testing & Expertise for Marine Energy (TEAMER) program.  TEAMER allows technology developers to conduct physical testing of mid-scale prototypes – including hydrokinetic devices, sensors and subsea communication devices – using Federal funds. As a TEAMER site, BTTS will provide the infrastructure and support needed for Technology Readiness Level (TRL)-gated development for testing in a relevant open water environment. Final approval of BTTS under the TEAMER program is contemplated in spring 2023; among other things, the site needs to clear National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.

BTTS permitting has been primarily funded to date by the MA Seaport Economic Council and the Falmouth Economic Development and Industrial Corporation.

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Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative: MRECo is dedicated to the sustainable development of marine energy in New England and is focused on providing the first permanent tidal energy test stand in the United States. Southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island are globally recognized as centers for the development and testing of innovative marine technologies.   www.mreconewengland.org

Littoral Power Systems, Inc.: LPS addresses the problems of cost, environmental impact, and regulatory complexity in hydropower and ocean energy. It develops, manufactures and installs products that reduce the time, cost and risk of getting projects built. LPS aims to fundamentally change perceptions about waterpower by providing solutions that are sensitive in the extreme to the long term health of marine species and ecosystems. www.littoralpower.com

TEAMER: The US Department of Energy’s Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) program enables technology developers to conduct tests at various facilities throughout the country. Click on the following link for more details about TEAMER   https://teamer-us.org/product-category/tank-basin/

 

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June 25, 2022

Contact: John Miller, Executive Director, MRECo 508-728-5825; director@mreconewengland.org

Congratulations to URI for Receiving TEAMER Acceptance

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England (MRECo) congratulates the University of Rhode Island (URI) for its recent acceptance into the US Department of Energy’s Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) program. Click on the following link for more details about TEAMER   https://teamer-us.org/product-category/tank-basin/

TEAMER funding enables technology developers to conduct tests at URI’s Ocean Engineering Department facilities including at its wave tank, wave-current flume, and acoustic tank. There is no charge to clients who choose to use URI facilities. TEAMER reimburses URI’s fees directly.    In addition to increasing collaborative R&D projects with experts and faculty members, URI students  will have opportunities to work directly with technology developers and gain valuable experience which can be applied when they are ready to join the rapidly-growing marine renewable energy workforce.

MRECo’s Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) located at the southern end of the Cape Cod Canal has been recommended for TEAMER acceptance, pending National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. Once the NEPA review has been completed, BTTS will provide a unique open water, yet close-to-shore, prototype testing facility for tidal and current energy devices and many types of marine sensors and underwater communication devices. The BTTS will provide clients with the infrastructure and support needed for Technology Readiness Level (TRL) gated development for mid-scale prototype testing in a relevant open water environment. https://www.mreconewengland.org

MRECo is dedicated to the sustainable development of marine energy in New England and is focused on providing the first permanent tidal energy test stand in the United States. Southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island are globally recognized as centers for the development and testing of innovative marine technologies.

According to John Miller, Executive Director of MRECo, “the intellectual capital represented by the universities in New England provided much of the technology that powers today’s solar and wind generation.  This infrastructure in New England coupled with TEAMER funding for testing will provide the same acceleration to marine renewables.”

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First Tidal Turbine Deployed at Bourne Tidal Test Site
August 5, 2021
Tidal Turbine Deployment at BTTS

Tidal Turbine Deployment at BTTS

Tidal Turbine on Lifting Arm at BTTS

Tidal Turbine on Lifting Arm at BTTS


The Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) welcomed its first test turbine after the COVID shutdown. The first turbine deployed at the BTTS was a conceptual design provided by Littoral Power Systems, Inc. of New Bedford. https://www.littoralpower.com/  Two additional turbines were scheduled to be installed in 2020, but both were cancelled due to COVID 19 logistics. MRECo continues to receive inquiries from turbine developers in the US and from foreign entities because the BTTS offers a stable platform with near laboratory conditions in ocean water. [ Read the full story in our August newsletter. >>> ]

 

Sensors Can Be Tested Economically on the Massachusetts Ocean Sensor Test Bed
August 5, 2021

Sensors Installed at MOST

Sensors Installed at MOST

There is a new test site for marine sensors in Massachusetts. This past June, the MRECo operations team, lead by Eben Franks, installed sensors to monitor water conditions and fish behavior at the Massachusetts Ocean Sensor Testbed (MOST) located in the Cape Cod Canal. [ Read the full story in our August newsletter. >>> ]

 

 

MRECo Welcomes Three Board Members
August 5, 2021

Photo: Officers and New MRECo Board Members, left to right, new Director David Duquette, Board President Steve Barrett, new Director Andrea Brady, Executive Director John Miller and Treasurer Bill Staby. Not picture is new Board Member Ray Schmitt. [ Read the full story in our August newsletter. >>> ]

 

 

Sunday Journal Cape Cod Times

Sunday Journal – Tidal Power with Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative
Hear Executive Director of the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative, John Miller, on Sunday Journal PodCast from August 29, 2021. John spoke about the organization’s recent test of the Bourne Tidal Test Site. [ Listen now. >>> ]

 

Follow this link for our latest e-newsletter, "MRECo Summer News 2020!" >>>

Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal

Read more news. >>>

Download MRECo Informational Flyers

L to R, C. Eben Franks (Test Director), John Miller (Executive Director), Alejandro Moreno (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy), David Vieira (State Rep), Maggie Merrill (Communications Director).

L to R, C. Eben Franks (Test Dirctor), John Miller (Executive Director), Alejandro Moreno (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy), David Vieira (State Rep), Maggie Merrill (Communications Director).

MRECo works with students, interns and STEM projects.

MRECo Seeks Funding for Students, Interns and STEM Project
In keeping with our outreach strategy, we are spreading the word to educate the public and engage more students via STEM, internships and student projects at the Bourne Tidal Test Site.

In keeping with our outreach strategy, we are spreading the word to educate the public and engage more students via STEM, internships and student projects at the Bourne Tidal Test Site. Funding is challenging in this nascent industry, therefore crowd funding for these items has become an option. Please take a look at us on Chuffed.org (https://chuffed.org/project/ocean-energy-for-new-england#) and consider making a donation of whatever size to show your support for clean renewable ocean energy education and development right here in New England. Thank you!


MRECo focuses on helping companies and universities get technology into the ocean... test tanks and flumes are critical to development, but we have to get "steel into the water" to understand the impacts of turbines on the environment and the environment on the technology.

https://www.mreconewengland.org/marine_renewable_energy/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/titaltestsite.jpg

Purpose

The purpose of  the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) of New England is to foster the sustainable growth of marine renewable energy (Offshore wind, wave and tide) through Education, Collaboration, and Demonstration. [ learn more ]

Vision

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) of New England envisions a future where New England obtains a significant, greater than 5%, of its power from reliable and predictable ocean based renewable energy technologies, and supports the infrastructure for testing that allows the cost effective, rapid commercialization of new sustainable technologies being developed by the rich entrepreneurial environment of the region.

Contact us today to for more information about membership or any other questions you might have.

BTTS installation, Nov. 2017Check out our gallery from the November 2017 BTTS installation.

 

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