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Bonamici, Young, Deutch Bill to Strengthen Marine Energy Passes House

December 21, 2020
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [12/21/20] –Today the House passed bipartisan legislation to increase federal investments in marine energy led by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Congressman Don Young (R-AK), and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL).


The Water Power Research and Development Act strengthens water power programs at the Department of Energy (DOE) and provides funding for research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of marine energy. The legislation passed the House as part of a funding and COVID relief package. It will authorize $186.6 million for the DOE Water Power Technologies Office over the next four years, including $137.4 million for federal investments in marine energy.


“Our ocean holds tremendous potential to mitigate the climate crisis, but for too long the power of waves, tides, and currents has been an untapped clean energy resource,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must expedite our transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy, and scaling up the development of marine energy technologies can help sustainably power our homes, buildings, and communities, and also create good-paying jobs. I am thrilled that our Water Power Research and Development Act will be signed into law because it will accelerate innovative research and development, including the efforts of Oregon State University and the Pacific Marine Energy Center. I appreciate the support and collaboration of Rep. Don Young and Rep. Ted Deutch in moving this bill forward.”


"Hydropower is crucially important to Alaska, and I am very proud that the Water Power Research and Development Act has made it into the final omnibus package. I have long supported harnessing Alaska's vast hydropower capabilities. I was very proud to support projects such as the Terror Lake Hydroelectric Plant and the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project. Both of these ventures are generating energy, and sustaining good-paying jobs in our communities," said Congressman Don Young. "As a nation, we need to get serious about helping renewables compete on a level playing field. Hydropower represents enormous potential for the State of Alaska, and we should be empowered to pursue it. As we look to diversify America's energy portfolio, it is my great hope that our legislation will assist with the development of hydropower projects across our country. I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of their aisle for supporting this critical effort, and I am especially grateful to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Congressman Ted Deutch for their partnership on this bill."


“Reducing the increasing impacts of climate change requires that our nation move toward renewable sources of energy,” said Congressman Ted Deutch. “Harnessing marine and hydrokinetic power from ocean currents, waves, tides, and other sources can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and decrease carbon emissions. This bill will invest in research, development, and deployment of marine and hydrokinetic power that is currently being conducted by research centers, such as Florida Atlantic University. This is an investment in the energy of the future and one that I strongly support.”


Importantly, the bill authorizes funding for existing and new National Marine Energy Centers, including the Pacific Marine Energy Center – operated by Oregon State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks – and Florida Atlantic University's Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center. 


“The Pacific Marine Energy Center at Oregon State University is working at the forefront to advance science, facilitate innovation, and develop the future workforce for what will become a multi-billion dollar marine energy sector,“ said Bryson Robertson, Co-Director of the Pacific Marine Energy Center at Oregon State University. “Enactment of the Water Power Research and Development Act sends an important and clear signal that the US remains committed to pursuing a commercially viable domestic marine energy sector that can reliably contribute toward a carbon-free energy portfolio. This is an exciting time for this emerging field.”  


The Water Power Research and Development Act first passed the House in September. Bonamici has long advocated for funding for marine energy and she co-led the Marine Energy Research and Development Act last year. She also led her colleagues in securing $109 million in federal investments in marine energy for Fiscal Year 2021. The Water Power Research and Development Act is also one of many recommendations included in the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ comprehensive Climate Action Plan that outlines a science-based path to reach net-zero emissions no later than mid-century and net-negative thereafter.