increasing spatial and regulatory conflicts in meeting these management objectives. Planning for multiple uses can maximize the achievement of multisector goals while reducing conflict. While these conflicts can be perceived as having the potential to delay or deter future technology development, Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project is an example of a small-scale commercial deployment navigating these regulatory hurdles successfully, and more projects are likely to be forthcoming. Furthermore, many of these filters are analogous to those faced by traditional power generation projects. With current rates of electricity usage, society will have to choose among various options for power generation, each with its own set of objectives, conflicts, and trade-offs.
Offshore alternative energy, both wind and MHK, has been a primary driver for the development of local and regional ocean planning in the United States (e.g., Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, and the mid-Atlantic region [OORMTF, 1991; MAEEA, 2009a, 2009b; MAGA, 2009; RICRMC, 2010]). MHK theoretical and technical resource assessments can help initiate a planning process that explicitly addresses and reduces spatial conflicts with other users. Many other uses have much larger footprints, impacts, and conflicts with one another but are often entrenched uses with specific, single-objective management approaches (e.g., commercial fisheries). Because offshore alternative energy represents a new use of the environment and does not have an established management approach at the state, regional, or national level, it will probably need to fit with existing uses and users. Social and economic filters discussed in the above sections are critical for identifying and reducing conflicts between other uses and MHK siting.
As part of the DOE tidal resource assessment, Defne et al. (2011) illustrated how MHK resource data could be combined with socioeconomic and environmental GIS layers to identify where MHK projects might be sited (Table 7-2). They explicitly represented their analysis as an example of how the data can be combined, and the committee found this was the most advanced example by any group attempting to assess the practical resource. While still largely a single-objective rather than multiple-objective analysis, the authors try to identify how one might place a MHK project where the potential energy is great and conflicts are few.
As part of MHK site planning efforts, potential trade-offs increasingly need to be explicitly identified and quantified, including market and non-market values. For example, when deciding where to locate devices or arrays, these valuations could be used to quantify positive and negative impacts on multiple sectors such as fishing, shipping, whale watching,