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.


Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outputs

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)

Marine Renewable Energy in the Republic of Mauritius (discussion of case studies with representatives of the World Bank and Oceana in Washington, D.C., April 2016; presentation by 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)


Cassidee Kido

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

This Team in the News

These Ph.D. Graduates Leveraged Bass Connections and Other Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Duke Seniors Share What Was Most Meaningful about Their Bass Connections Experiences

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).

Team Leaders

  • Lori Bennear, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Tim Buthe, Arts & Sciences-Political Science
  • Jay Golden, Nicholas School of the Environment-Earth and Climate Sciences
  • Jonas Monast, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
  • Douglas Nowacek, Nicholas School of the Environment-Marine Science and Conservation

/graduate Team Members

  • Tom Cinq-Mars, History-PHD
  • Geoffrey Cooper, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy, Sustainable Systems Analysis
  • Brandon Morrison, Earth and Ocean Sciences-PHD
  • Megan Nasgovitz, Master of Environmental Management, Coastal Environmental Management, Geospatial Analysis
  • Ori Sharon, Doctor of Juridical Science

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Lesley Chen-Young, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Hallie Cramer, Economics (BS)
  • Nikhil Jain, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Cassidee Kido, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Emily McAuliffe, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Dhara Patel, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB), Spanish (AB2)
  • Ashley Wong, Environmental Sciences (BS)