A Feasibility Assessment for Co-Locating and Powering Offshore Aquaculture with Wave Energy in the United States

Lysel Garavelli, Mikaela Freeman, Levy Tugade, David Greene, Jim McNally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus Citations


Offshore aquaculture and marine renewable energy (energy from waves, tides, currents, and ocean gradients) are two developing ocean-based industries. Aquaculture, an industry that has typically relied on diesel for power, is expected to grow globally, presenting an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to renewable sources as it expands. As the aquaculture industry moves further offshore and is situated in more energetic environments, the prospect to co-locate offshore aquaculture with wave energy increases. To improve understanding of this potential, a feasibility assessment was completed to estimate the energy needs and wave resource required to power offshore finfish aquaculture operations. The study found it is possible to power offshore aquaculture operations entirely with wave energy. A spatial analysis was then performed to assess the suitability of co-locating offshore finfish aquaculture and wave energy off California and Hawaii. Suitable locations were identified offshore of O'ahu, Hawaii, and northern California. Southern California was also assessed, using a lower wave resource, based on study areas evaluated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify Aquaculture Opportunity Areas, and while limited there are suitable locations that may warrant further evaluation. This study presents an analysis into the potential to pair wave energy with offshore aquaculture, and how various factors can help determine suitable areas for co-location. The methods developed in this study will support future identification of potential sites for development and decision-making to optimize the success of co-locating wave energy resources and offshore finfish aquaculture.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106242
Number of pages10
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-83209


  • Co-location
  • Energy assessment
  • Marine renewable energy
  • Offshore aquaculture
  • Spatial analysis


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