Third Annual Marine Renewable Energy Conference fosters international collaboration

On and Off the Grid featured industry insiders, policymakers, and academic researchers sharing their developments in ocean energy

MRE Conference 2020 Banner

On November 12, 2020, UMass Dartmouth held its third annual Marine Renewable Energy Conference: On and Off the Grid. This virtual event featured a series of panels addressing ocean wind, wave, and tidal energy from both a grid-scale and an off-grid, purpose-built perspective. Topics included industry updates, innovations, research and development needs, and funding opportunities.

The event began with an introduction by Associate Provost Ramprasad Balasubramanian affirming UMass Dartmouth’s commitment to the blue economy and sustainable, renewable marine energy research. The audience was then treated to a video welcome from Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who said that “Here in Massachusetts, we have a tradition of collaboration that’s really important. When you have academia, federal, state, and local partners, and the private sector coming together, we can accomplish a lot of great things. In the area of renewable energy, we can certainly accomplish even more.”

Polito, a strong advocate for the Commonwealth’s marine technology initiatives as the Chair of the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, said “the SouthCoast region owns the blue economy.”

Alejandro Moreno
Keynote Speaker Alejandro Moreno. Moreno is the Director for the Water Power Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy

The conference was keynoted by Alejandro Moreno, Director for the Water Power Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy. Moreno spoke about the government’s efforts to promote practical marine renewable energy products and solutions. Moreno also offered his views on the future for the sector, including what he expects from the incoming Biden Administration.

“Marine energy really is looking to be developed at a community scale and there’s a real market opportunity and opportunity to provide value to the American people,” said Moreno.

Poster of marine buoy project
SMAST graduate student Gregory Browne presents his innovative buoy system that generates energy

The audience was then treated to a series of panels that featured panels of experts discussing social and environmental impacts; policy and innovation driving markets; renewable energy utilization; and developments in grid-scale deployment.

During the In Situ Renewable Energy Utilization panel, Gregory Browne, a graduate student at the School for Marine Science and Technology, presented his Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter. This device connects to widely available buoys and uses innovative mechanics to harness unlimited wave energy.

If you were not able to attend the 2020 Marine Renewable Energy Conference or want to revisit the experience, the event was recorded and available to view.

Please visit the Conference’s website to learn even more about this incredible event.

MUST: Marine and UnderSea Technology, News and Public Information, School for Marine Science and Technology