An ELI Member Seminar
While off to a slow start in the United States, ocean energy technologies (wave, tidal, and current hydrokinetic energy) are already at an advanced phase of development in other parts of the world. The European Union is the current leader in ocean energy technology development, hosting more than 50% of tidal energy and about 45% of wave energy developers globally. In September 2016, Scotland opened its first grid connected tidal energy park, and eight EU countries have included ocean energy in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs).
In the U.S. however, development of hydrokinetic projects has been less successful. Wave and tidal energy developers claim that federal subsidies and tax cuts are insufficient to promote research and development, and some of the most successful ocean energy companies have moved overseas.
Though the current cost of hydrokinetic energy is higher in the U.S .compared to other fuels, and harnessing tidal and wave power poses technical challenges, some backers assert that tides are a more predictable source of renewable energy. Should more resources and subsidies be put into hydrokinetic energy research? What environmental impacts do these technologies pose compared to other renewable energy sources? What regulatory barriers need to be addressed to support the development of the hydrokinetic technology sector in the U.S.?
Xiao Recio-Blanco, Director, Ocean Program, Environmental Law Institute (moderator)
Annie Jones, Attorney-Advisor, Energy Projects, Office of General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Meghan Massaua, Mediator and Program Manager, Meridian Institute
Seán O’Neill, Founder and Principal, Symmetrix Public Relations & Communication Strategies
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