Powering the Blue Economy: Progress Exploring Marine Renewable Energy Integration with Ocean Observations

Robert Cavagnaro, Andrea Copping, Rebecca Green, David Greene, Scott Jenne, Debbie Rose, Dorian Overhus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus Citations


Marine renewable energy (MRE) encompasses the harvest of energy from the movement of ocean waters in the form of either currents or waves, as well as temperature and salinity differentials. To date, most MRE development has fo-cused on utility-scale electrical grid generation, but a growing body of work fo-cuses on non-grid applications in the blue economy where MRE could provide power on-site and at the scale needed for specific maritime sectors. One of the blue economy sectors with promising applications for MRE is ocean observations using both mobile and stationary platforms. This paper documents the steps and results of engaging with experts across the myriad ocean observation platforms and capabilities to inform five use cases. These use cases include descriptions of specific ocean observation applications performing measurements of high socie-tal value (e.g., data for weather forecasting and tsunami detection) that closely resemble specific sensing systems and, in most cases, are placed in a particular area of the ocean. Rapid resource assessments (i.e., first-order estimates) were performed at these locations to determine the suitability of marine and other renewable energy sources. From the information gathered so far, MRE has signif-icant potential to enable improved ocean observation missions, expand ocean observing capacity, and develop as an industry in parallel with the needs of our changing oceans.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Technology Society Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Marine Technology Society Inc. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-77182


  • blue economy
  • coastal weather buoys
  • HF radar
  • marine energy
  • ocean observation
  • PBE
  • profiling floats
  • tsunami detection
  • underwater vehicles


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