History and Future of Ocean Energy (2015-2016)

As technological developments have better enabled us to understand and exploit ocean common-pool resources, the ocean’s economic potential will continue to be harnessed in new ways to meet demands for energy (offshore oil and gas, methane hydrates and alternative wind, tide and wave sources), food security (aquaculture, fisheries), minerals (deep sea mining), pharmaceuticals and other emerging needs. The oceans also represent a significantly less visible, highly interconnected and more difficult environment to manage than most terrestrial systems, raising questions of regulation, corporate policies and environmental stewardship.

This project team analyzed the values, judgments and preferences inherent in competing visions for management and governance of ocean energy resources. Team members assessed the consequences of human decisions on current ocean energy issues including deep-sea mining, traditional oil and gas development, renewable energy sources and technologies as well as governance of “high-seas” ocean energy resources.

The team produced papers on the perception and acceptance of offshore wind energy and on marine renewable energy in Mauritius. Team members traveled to the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, for a meeting with high-level representatives of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and to Washington, DC, to discuss their case studies on offshore renewable energy with representatives of the World Bank and Oceana. Megan Nasgovitz received a Bass Connections follow-on grant to assess the economic, environmental and political implications of Shell’s decision to suspend drilling in Alaska. During the summer she traveled to Alaska to conduct interviews and administer a survey in small indigenous towns.

Timing

Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outcomes

The Dynamics of Offshore Wind Perception and Acceptance across Development Models (paper by Emily McAuliffe, Ori Sharon and Molly Rosenstein)

Marine Renewable Energy in the Republic of Mauritius: A Case Study Perspective (paper by Hallie Cramer, Cassidee Kido, Brandon Morrison and Dhara Patel)

Discussion of case studies with representatives of the World Bank and Oceana in Washington, D.C., April 2016 (Hallie Cramer, Dhara Patel, Cassidee Kido, Brandon Morrison)

Seismic Surveys and Marine Mammal Impacts (presentation by Douglas Nowacek at the Shaping Our Economic Future: Offshore Drilling in N.C. conference)

Reflections

Going to the Source to Understand Ocean Energy Issues in Alaska (Megan Nasgovitz)

This Team in the News

Six Students Receive Grants to Extend Their Bass Connections Research

Bass Connections Team Meets with Federal Bureau to Examine History, Future of Ocean Energy

See related team, History and Future of Ocean Energy (2016-2017).

Themes

Faculty/Staff Team Members

Lori Bennear, Nicholas School - Environmental Sciences & Policy*
Tim Buthe, Trinity - Political Science*
Jay Golden, Nicholas School - Earth & Ocean Sciences*
Jonas Monast, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions*
Douglas Nowacek, Nicholas School - Marine Science & Conservation*

Graduate Team Members

Tom Cinq-Mars, History
Geoffrey Cooper, Nicholas School, Master of Environmental Management
Brandon Morrison, Nicholas School - Earth and Ocean Sciences
Megan Nasgovitz, Nicholas School, Master of Environmental Management
Ori Sharon, Law School - SJD

Undergraduate Team Members

Lesley Chen-Young
Hallie Cramer, Economics (AB)
Nikhil Jain, Mechanical Engineering
Cassidee Kido, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Emily McAuliffe
Dhara Patel
Ashley Wong, Environmental Sciences (BS)

* denotes team leader

Status

Completed, Archived