the committee sees the constraints represented by the socioeconomic filters as being among the most important set of considerations influencing future investments in marine and hydrokinetic energy. The socioeconomic filters are also the most important set of considerations if one is to develop an assessment of what might ultimately be considered the maximum estimate of MHK resources that could be used to generate electricity. An approach for assessing these socioeconomic considerations might be to merge the GIS databases resulting from the theoretical and technical resources with existing spatial information about other economic and ecological uses of the ocean and coast, such as shipping channels and areas associated with critical habitats and species. Although such information would be helpful in highlighting potential multiple-use conflicts, it will not be sufficient for quantifying the practical resource base. The quantification of the practical resource could be done as part the planning processes for site-specific management or for local, state, or regional management.
As discussed below, the wave and tidal resource assessment groups employ different GIS platforms to display their results. Given that one of the DOE’s objectives is to be able to compare the various resource types with one another, this lack of coordination among the assessment groups precludes the easy integration of all resource assessments into a single database and seems counterproductive to the ultimate DOE goals. Moreover, this same coordination and consistency would, if present, help the five resource assessment groups develop resource assessments that are easily comparable and that could be easily integrated into a common platform. Given that many of the extraction and the socioeconomic filters might be similar across the assessment groups, coordination would also help in the development of a GIS database useful to policy makers and developers.
The DOE requested that the assessment groups determine the "maximum practicable, extractable energy." Although maximum practicable, extractable energy could possibly refer to the practical resource in the conceptual framework shown in Figure 1, discussion with the DOE and the assessment groups led the committee to conclude that the term is instead equivalent to the technical resource in the conceptual framework. It was also made clear that the assessment effort did not include incorporating site-specific information that would be required to define the practical resource base.
Additionally, there is a lack of clarity on the geographic scope for the estimate of maximum practicable, extractable energy. It is unclear from discussions with the DOE and the assessment groups whether the estimate is to be a national, regional, or local resource estimate. The committee finds that the resource estimates, especially the resource base aggregated to a regional or national level, have both limited utility and