Verdant Power’s Tidal Current Turbine in New York East River – RITE Project

What is Marine Renewable Energy?

In its simplest form, this encompasses energy from a number of different resources, all of which are found in the Marine Environment. These resources are often termed ‘Marine Renewables’ and can be divided into 6 major classes:

•  Offshore Wind
•  Tidal
•  Ocean Currents
•  Waves
•  Ocean Thermal Energy
•  Salinity Gradient Power

The technological level of development of these resources varies significantly; at one extreme, offshore wind is highly advanced with more than 2GW installed worldwide, while at the other, there is yet to be an ocean current device of any scale deployed. Nevertheless, each of these resources has significant potential if the technological hurdles preventing its economical capture can be overcome.

A term commonly used in the US when referring to ocean energy generation, is ‘Marine HydroKinetics’ (MHK). This is a sub-class of marine energy extraction devices that harness energy though the direct movement of the water. Technically, MHK refers to the extraction method rather than the resource, as there are tidal devices that generate directly from the potential energy in tidal water level changes. However, for all intents and purposes, MHK describes Tidal, Wave and Ocean Current generation.