quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g., Barents Sea, Netherlands) or with expert judgment (Wadden Sea). Where there has been prioritization of spatial uses, trade-off analysis can avert incompatible uses (e.g., German Exclusive Economic Zone) or permitting decisions (e.g., Shetland Islands). They can also be used to compare alternative scenarios in order to identify potential least-cost solutions (e.g., St. Kitts and Nevis, Belgium, and California) (NOAA, 2011b).
One such spatially explicit decision support tool is MarinePlanner (formerly MarineMap), which is used in California, Oregon, Washington, and the mid-Atlantic region. This tool allows users to designate spatial use zones and to estimate the benefits, costs, risks, and impacts of their decisions. MarineMap and MarinePlanner were explicitly developed for extensive stakeholder engagement as part of spatial planning (Gleason et al., 2010). MarineMap is currently being used as part of Oregon efforts to identify areas where wave energy could be feasibly sited with fewer conflicts in an explicitly multiobjective context.2 After extensive engagement with stakeholders and affected state agencies, policies, standards, and procedures were created to approve new energy development.3 The next stage will result in maps to guide the location of renewable energy facilities while protecting areas that are important to ocean fisheries or are essential marine habitat.
Another set of decision support tools used in alternative energy development are the Prospector tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (e.g., Solar Prospector, Geothermal Prospector). These tools are designed to bring together critical information about the resources and areas of concern in their development so that stakeholders can identify where they might maximize benefits and minimize conflicts. For example, stakeholders (including developers and environmental groups) can assess with Solar Prospector where theoretical energy resources (e.g., solar resources) are greatest and where conflicts may be fewest (e.g., away from areas of environmental concern). Such tools can be further improved to provide the most relevant information for MHK resource development by engaging with stakeholders, as has been done, for example, with MarinePlanner.
Approaches developed specifically for siting wind farms, based on macro-siting and micro-siting optimization, could provide a methodological template for optimizing MHK siting (Rhétore et al., 2011; Grilli et al., 2012). These approaches seek to optimize device locations by considering physical constraints (such as the complex aerodynamic wake effect behind turbines) as well as socioeconomic and environmental constraints associated