Marine Renewable Energy

Elective Course | 4 ECTS | Course: CMM 36

Instructor: John Colton

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

This course explores marine renewable energy (MRE) potential in our ocean and other current environments. This would include wave, tidal, offshore wind and even the less known but viable technologies such as ocean energy thermal conversion (OTEC), and salinity gradient. Heavy investment  by the EU to support a Blue Economy and  federal, provincial, and state investments in Canada/US is increasing growth in the MRE sector. We explore the many factors that support MRE project development. Examples include understanding the technologies, policy to support MRE, environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and marine spatial planning with respect to MRE. Case studies highlight examples of MRE across Europe, North America, and increasingly in Asia and the South Pacific.  Students develop a strong sense of the overall planning approach to MRE and key tools/frameworks to facilitate sustainable growth of the sector. When possible, field trips offer an opportunity to explore the power of the ocean and currents first hand with innovative work occurring in the region of  the Westfjords.

Instructor

I’ve worked at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia for over 20 years in the Community Development and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies programs. My research areas span the terrestrial and marine environments and are often applied in nature focussing on meaning community outcomes. An example of this might include the Business and Community Toolkit for Tidal Energy Development or the Tidal Energy Community Engagement Handbook. I’ve worked extensively in First Nation communities on economic development initiatives and more recently with rural coastal communities and local and provincial governments exploring the potential of MRE. I’m particularly interested in the nature of community benefits and processes that support social acceptance (or not) or MRE development. I’m a founding member of the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute and serve as head of department for Community Development. I’ve also worked in the adventure/ecotourism tourism guiding wilderness river expeditions to remote areas in Alaska, British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories since the late 1980’s with Canadian River Expeditions.

Working at the UW is the highlight of my year; an immersive mutual learning experience with engaged students in a program closely connected and interwoven with the community and environmental context. 

Description

This course provides an overview of the marine renewable energy sector by focusing on the history of marine renewable energy development, environmental effects, marine spatial planning, device technology and transmission issues, finance and risk mitigation, socio-cultural impacts, and stakeholder and community engagement. Students will explore these issues through case studies focusing on the Bay of Fundy (Nova Scotia, Canada) and the Orkney Islands (United Kingdom). The course is grounded in theory and applied learning opportunities that enable students to assess marine renewable energy issues through professional tools and other applied resources.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • can describe the social, political, cultural, and environmental issues related to marine renewable energy development.
  • can interpret the Pathways of Effects framework for predicting environmental responses to marine renewable energy development.
  • can identify processes that support community and stakeholder engagement in marine renewable energy development.
  • has demonstrated an understanding of the marine renewable energy development process through case study analysis and development of a marine renewable energy project course exercise.