Maine Sea Grant College Program
Sea Grant research supported renewable ocean energy research and development. Maine Sea Grant researchers have developed and defined new approaches to monitoring and assessing environmental impacts associated with tidal power turbines, helping to inform similar efforts nationally and globally. Dr. Gayle Zydlewski and her research team, including Sea Grant scholar Jeffrey Vieser, assessed fish communities associated with Ocean Renewable Power Company’s tidal energy project in Cobscook Bay. The researchers identified ways that industries and other stakeholders investing in tidal power could save money (using a single beam rather than a split beam echosounder system to monitor fish could save up to $30,000 in equipment costs) and time (by automating acoustic data analyses). Data collected and analyzed by Sea Grant researchers advanced ORPC’s license application process by providing regulatory agencies the best available science, helping to inform the policy changes that were needed to enable tidal power development in the U.S. and abroad. By contributing to the project’s success, Sea Grant has helped ORPC retain 38 businesses and more than 100 jobs.
Maine Sea Grant is also engaging communities affected by the University of Maine’s offshore wind energy research. The University of Maine is building and testing new floating wind turbine designs for deployment off Midcoast Maine. Fishermen, communities, and other ocean users in the vicinity need opportunities to provide input on the design and deployment, and learn about the goals of the project. Since April 2013, Maine Sea Grant has coordinated community engagement in the project region, including hosting multiple public forums and meetings with lobster, shrimp, and scallop fishermen. Approximately 300 people attended these events in 2013. Maine Sea Grant’s work in communities affected by offshore wind energy research and development have helped to correct misinformation and expand the sphere of engagement, reducing potential conflicts while incorporating more concerns into the development process.
Maine Sea Grant, "Maine Sea Grant Annual Report 2013" (2013). Maine Sea Grant Publications. 111.
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