Sunday, May 5, 2019

“What is SNMREC?”

A question from a blog reader:

“I came across something on your blog recently called SNMREC. A potential Ocean Wave Energy Generation project at our beach in Lake Worth Beach. Can you help explain what that is?”

The short answer is SNMREC  =  Southeastern National Marine Renewable Energy Center. 

This is a cutting-edge research center at Florida Atlantic University exploring ways to create renewable energy from ocean waves. The reader was wondering about this line in a blog post from October 2017 titled, “Lake Worth Beach Complex Conceptual Plans Design”:

This project was a big part of Mayor Pam Triolo’s State of the City Address in January 2017 (see excerpts below) and was also the subject of a very high-level meeting at the Lake Worth Casino on February 12th later that year.

Click on image to enlarge.

Recognize anyone?

This “Ocean Energy Round Table Discussion” was led by State Rep. Kathleen Peters. Others in attendance were PBC Commissioner Dave Kerner, then-State Senator Jeff Clemens, then-State Rep. Lori Berman (now a State Senator), Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein, Mayor Pam Triolo, and other electeds, officials, and staff as well.

And by the way — whilst on the subject of our City’s Casino complex, on the issue of sea level rise and fortifying dunes — one of the big ideas proposed by a former Lake Worth commissioner several years ago was constructing a parking garage into the west side of the dune at the Lake Worth Beach:

“One innovative approach that the Netherlands has taken in the face of sea level rise is to build parking garages under some of the dunes. . . . According to Maier [former Commissioner Ryan Maier], there are several benefits of building parking areas [parking garages] this way. ‘You don’t see the parking structure and it increases the height of the dune.’ ”

Here are excerpts from Mayor Pam Triolo’s
2017 State of the City Address held at
the Casino Ballroom:

“The New Lake Worth is a City that embraces the future. On my recent trip to Washington [also in January 2017] I also met with the US Department of Energy about our partnership that began last year with Southeastern National Marine Renewable Energy Center, or SNMREC, at Florida Atlantic University.

In this video Mayor Triolo explains her travel to Washington, D.C. (excerpts from the mayor’s State of
the City Address continue below).

[Please note: Chris McVoy, PhD (on left, blue shirt), first elected in 2010, lost his bid for re-election 3 weeks after this video was taken. Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso is to the mayor’s right; Amoroso is now Lake Worth’s Vice Mayor. The City’s Vice Mayor Pro Tem is Scott Maxwell who also traveled to Washington, D.C. on this important topic which followed the mayor’s trip a week earlier in 2017.]

Mayor Triolo continues:

     “SNMREC is one of three entities created through the Department of Energy to promote private sector development of three types of power generation from the ocean. Wave, Tidal and Current driven energy has tremendous promise to provide clean and consistent power from the ocean. While the Wave program in Hawaii and the Tidal program in Washington State have advanced, SNMREC has had the challenge of locating an offshore site where private companies in partnership could test designs and develop proof of concept.
     While they currently have a buoy off Broward County, an actual mooring connected by cable to the grid does not exist, until now. Working together with SNMREC, Lake Worth would be a significant part of propelling this effort to develop ocean current driven power as a viable source.
     It turns out that after studying and developing detailed computer modeling, the Gulfstream Current is at its closest and in a most consistent strength offshore of . . . you guessed it . . . Lake Worth.”  

and. . .

     “As an oceanfront community our Electric Utility [City owns its own Electric Utility] can receive the power generated offshore. However how do we get it from out there to in here? Well it turns out we also have an old abandoned sewer outfall that goes ¾ of a mile offshore and we have applied for a grant to study and engineer a way to pull a cable through it to connect to the test site.” 

the final excerpt. . .

     “In many ways, this is about clean renewable energy and economic development. Coupled with increasing the availability of feeding renewable energy into our grid for use in the City, we may be able to add power from the Gulfstream [Current] to our solar [see video below] and one day have the highest level of renewable energy of any city in the state or even the country.” 

I hope this helps to explain this project and hopefully soon we’ll get an update about funding available and where this “proof of concept” is in the planning process.

“Stay Tuned” as they say.