The US Department of Energy (USDOE) and the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC) located at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), have been working together for over 10 years towards commercialization of electricity generation from ocean currents. They have determined that the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida is one of the world’s most accessible and viable locations to begin generating electricity.
The City of Lake Worth Beach joined the collaborative effort in 2017 as the onshore recipient of the electric generation due to its closest land fall proximity to the Gulf Stream; ownership of its own municipal electric utility; and it’s near shore outfall pipe infrastructure.
Recent studies by USDOE, SNMREC, Georgia Tech University and others have verified the extraordinary potential of the Gulf Stream which flows past Florida at 30 times the volume of all the worlds rivers combined, and by tapping into just 1/1000 of that supersized river flow will generate 4-6 gigawatts of power, which is the equivalent of 3 to 4 nuclear power plants.
- Florida will become the world’s “birthplace” of ocean current energy, which is already attracting ocean turbine manufacturers from around the globe as well as the United States, resulting in a new industry cluster in our state comparable to the aerospace industry.
- Similar to nuclear energy power generation, power generation from the Gulf Stream will be constant and reliable running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The City of Lake Worth Beach recently completed an economic impact study conducted by the Hank Fishkind Group reflecting a significant return on investment and job creation potential for the southeast Florida region and the state of Florida, as well as long term energy cost savings to Florida and an increase in energy independence.
- Before any permitting for cabling and mooring field docking stations can be issued to begin deploying design equipment, an environmental study of the ocean floor must be completed, confirming the initial findings to-date that the targeted ocean bottom is sandy with no serious environmental issues.
- While the state of North Carolina is currently the only state investing approximately $2 million a year in ocean current energy, the North Carolina funding is earmarked for research & development only. The City of Lake Worth/FAU/SNMREC collaborative is for actual commercialization of electric generation.