The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Ocean Energy Development: Apply Common Sense to Common Problems

During the opening keynote session at the Energy Ocean International Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse identified a core problem to developing ocean energy technologies in the U.S.: process.

Following the continued success of the offshore wind development process in the state – the Department of the Interior announced last week that it will hold first-ever leasing auctions for more than 164,000 acres off the coast of R.I. and Massachusetts on July 31 – Whitehouse explained some lessons learned. “You can have the best technology in the world, but if you can’t site somewhere then [development] problems still remain,” he said.

To address siting issues, R.I. established the Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), a coastal management and regulatory tool that utilizes scientific research from the University of Rhode Island for a balanced, safe approach to the development and protection of offshore resources. Whitehouse credits Ocean SAMP as the reason why the DOI offshore wind leasing program is in Rhode Island and moving forward. It involves all affected parties to renewable development, from fishermen to the shipping industry to the environmental community.

“We need to start with the proposition that the government entity doesn’t know everything,” said Whitehouse. “So shouldn’t the American people be involved in decision-making? Shouldn’t they be at the planning table? If they’re at the table, shouldn’t they have all the necessary information available to them? All together, this is nothing but common sense.”

Whitehouse gave several examples of how siting can efficiently solve issues. For example, Massachusetts effectively used spatial planning to solve a critical problem that involved both shipping and wildlife. Whale strikes had caused shipping lanes to be slowed, so the state gathered a consortium of experts to assess the situation. They geolocated the whale strikes, identified the main line of whale travel, and moved the shipping lane two degrees – improving both environmental and economic issues. “You just need to get the right people in the room, get the right information, and move forward efficiently and rapidly,” Whitehouse said.

John R. Miller, executive director of the Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC), agreed with Whitehouse. MREC, based in New Bedford, Mass., is involved in renewable energy marine spatial planning in R.I. and Mass. MREC and New Bedford city officials visited Germany and Denmark last month to learn about how they developed their offshore wind industry. New Bedford shares the same characteristics (high unemployment, poor economy) the German town of Bremerhaven once did before it was reinvigorated by offshore wind, and New Bedford officials hope it will have the same effect on their city. Miller said New Bedford has already broken ground to create an offshore wind manufacturing and distribution terminal it hopes will serve the New England coast. But in order for all of these grand plans to be successful, Miller said that Whitehouse hit the nail on the head – siting is key. And with new wave and tidal technologies nearing commercialization, marine spatial planning will be more important than ever.  

“Common siting issues should be dealt with in a quick responsible way through marine spatial planning. It’s the application of common sense to common problems,” said Whitehouse. “We should do the same for the [wave and tidal] industry – I hope it grows very rapidly, and I expect it to.”

Lead image: Offshore wind via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable Energy Gains Greater Opportunity in US Clean Power Plan

Elisa Wood After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stron...

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking p...

Some Hope for US Renewable Energy Tax Credits As Extension Bill Passes Committee

Vince Font In a lopsided 23-3 vote, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted yesterday to extend a number of renewable energy pro...
Renewable energy globe lightbulb

Global Renewable Energy Is Status Positive

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor The headline figure from the authoritative REN21 Renewables Global Status Report 2015 (GSR) states renewables account...

PRESS RELEASES

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

OFS Announces Commercial Availability of InvisiLight® MDU Optical Solution for Multiple Dwelling Units

OFS, a leading-edge designer, manufacturer and supplier of innovative fiber optic netwo...

New local energy partnership brings innovative solar tracker to Washington State

A new partnership will bring the innovative AllEarth Solar Tracker solar electric syste...

30 days to GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced that it is only 30 days to go to t...

FEATURED BLOGS

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospect that owns or manages a building with high ...

Shedding Some Light on a Taxing Situation for Community-Shared Solar

For renters and for property owners with inadequate roof space, the many benefits of solar electricity may seem out o...

FINANCIAL NEWS

As associate editor of RenewableEnergyWorld.com, I coordinate and edit feature stories, contributed articles, news stories, opinion pieces and blogs. I also research and write content for RenewableEnergyWorld.com and REW magazine. I manage REW.com...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Distributed Wind Energy Workshop

Description: Distributed wind energy is electricity that is produced for...

2015 AREDAY Summit

The 12th Annual AREDAY Summit, August 8-13th in Snowmass Colorado. Engag...

COMPANY BLOGS

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS