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Sea Grant, DOE, NOAA Fisheries fund six projects for the coexistence of offshore energy with Northeast fishing and coastal communities

By: Lily Keyes, MIT Sea Grant

 

The Northeast Sea Grant Consortium—in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center—today announced six projects to advance social science and technology research on offshore renewable energy in the Northeast United States.

 

This funding opportunity, first announced in March 2021, seeks to catalyze research for the coexistence of marine energy—including wind, current, tidal, and wave energies—with Northeast fishing and coastal communities. The innovative funding partnership applies the Sea Grant model to connect science and tools directly with communities and ocean users. 

 

The selected projects were collectively awarded over $1.1 million in federal funds, with each project matching 50% in non-federal funds. The two-year projects have roots across the Northeast:

 

“The United States has abundant wind and water power resources along our coastlines that can help our nation, and our coastal and marine communities in particular, reach a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions no later than 2050,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “At the same time, we recognize communities and local economies depend on the ocean for their livelihoods and way of life. Through this research partnership with the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, we can better understand and optimize these shared uses of the ocean.”

 

“The Northeast Sea Grant programs are pleased to be partnering with the DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center to fund research on this timely topic, which we hope will provide decision makers with guidance on how different users of resources in the marine environment in our region can coexist,” stated Matt Charette, Director of the Woods Hole Sea Grant program.

 

As the United States continues developing and deploying offshore renewable energy technologies, the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium and federal partners will continue to engage the public and decision makers in collaborative research that supports resilient communities and economies. 

 

“NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center has joined Northeast Sea Grant Programs and Department of Energy to advance needed socio-economic research,” said Jon Hare, Science and Research Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “Understanding the social and economic connections between offshore wind energy and existing ocean users such as commercial and recreational fisheries is critical to supporting coastal communities.”

 

To effectively translate the results of the funded research for use by communities, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center designated $350,000 in federal funding in parallel with the research projects. As part of these efforts, Northeast Sea Grant program extension staff will work directly with fishing communities and other stakeholders to provide scientific, legal, and policy research support in response to fishing community needs.

 

This research and extension will benefit a variety of ocean users and stakeholders by providing the community-focused tools required for equitable and sustainable development of the Northeast’s coastal and ocean resources.

 

See the announcement from U.S. Department of Energy

 

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