New resource about offshore energy planning available

July 29, 2013
Media Contact— Caitlin Coomber / ccoomber@ucsd.edu / 858-534-0580

SANTA CRUZ – The power of ocean waves, tides and winds offers great potential as a source of clean, renewable energy. But, offshore energy development may also conflict with other activities on the often bustling sea, such as shipping, fishing, sailing, military training and marine research.

A new resource from California Sea Grant highlights California-relevant sections of a 2012 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) report, commissioned by the agency to help it identify, avoid and reduce potential space-use conflicts with marine renewable energy development.

The PDF is available for public downloading at California Sea Grant’s bookstore.

California Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Carrie Pomeroy, one of the original report’s nine primary authors, has excerpted the 430-page tome for California stakeholders.

“It’s a misconception to think of the ocean as a blank slate,” Pomeroy, a social scientist, said. “There’s a lot of activity on the ocean, and a lot of people who could be affected by offshore energy development. We’ve identified some of the complexity out there, and this should be useful to community and decision-makers alike.”

“Although the project looked at diverse users across many regions of the United States, a fairly unified set of recommendations emerged,” she said. These include:

  • Planning and siting of marine renewable energy facilities should be done with stakeholders involved throughout the multi-stage process.
  • Maps and images with easily understood descriptions are key to the planning process, but they are snapshots in time that have inherent limitations in conveying the highly dynamic nature of space use.
  • Information on how some industries use the ocean is lacking and this data gap should be addressed, and
  • Sociocultural differences within and among regional user groups should be considered and included in the development and implementation of plans.

Download BOEM’s original report “Identification of Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space-Use Conflicts and Analysis of Potential Mitigation Measures.”

Contact:  California Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist, Carrie Pomeroy, UCSC Center for Ocean Health, Santa Cruz, cpomeroy@ucsd.edu

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Our headquarters is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; we are one of 33 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.