Marine renewable energies are out there and being tested vigorously everyday. Some say marine renewables are where wind energy was ten years ago. Currently, there are around 129 types of "marine" energy technologies with some more effective than others. The United States, with the help of federal funding, is slowly but surely getting more involved in this fascinating, untapped natural energy resource. But when do electrical manufacturers come into play? The answer is debatable. Should we start now during the research phase? Or should we wait until there are multiple established marine renewable stations in place? The only way for marine renewable energies to eventually pay off is if they connect with the grid, which will then be time for NEMA members to get heavily involved. But at what point should NEMA members jump in? I feel the answer is sooner than later.
The ocean covers 70% of our planet's surface and its constant energy is endless. The Gulf Stream's current itself could easily power the state of Florida. The recent oil spill in the Gulf only strengthens the renewable energy movement. It's time to start taking marine renewable energies more serious. It is going to take a collaborative effort that is already underway at universities like Oregon State, Washington, MIT, and Old Dominion to name a few. They will then pass the baton to investors, manufacturers, regulators, and legislators to make it happen.
Globally, countries like Ireland, UK, New Zealand, and Australia are leading the way. The United States has a few big projects in motion, most notably in the Mississippi River and off the Oregon coast. Marine renewable energies could help in America's effort to gain energy independence from oil. Even if it only helps our nation's energy independence by 10%, we're talking billions of dollars in energy savings. I feel that it is time for NEMA members to start the discussion regarding their stance on this initiative. It could pay off in years to come.