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World - One ocean: At the intersection of green energy and a blue economy

Oceanography study explores the relationships between offshore wind energy and fisheries industries, suggests inclusive approaches

September 19, 2018

As one of the ocean-based climate solutions with the largest mitigation potential, offshore wind is one example of green meeting blue. Finding pathways for the happy coexistence of offshore wind, coastal communities and fisheries will be an achievement with circular climate rewards. The potential for the ocean’s contribution, and for ocean health, is significant. According to the World Resources Institute, if coal-fired power plants could be swapped for ocean-based renewable energy (including wind, wave, tidal and floating solar), it would be roughly the equivalent of taking over 1 billion cars off the road per year.

At a time when blue food is receiving increased attention for its needed contributions to nutrition, food security, food systems transformation and climate change mitigation, teamwork is essential.

A December 2020 research paper, part of a special issue of Oceanography magazine titled “Understanding the Effects of Offshore Wind Energy Development on Fisheries,” laid out a potential path forward.

A just transition

As society moves to greater use of clean energy, “a just transition…requires accounting for the effects of offshore wind projects (OWPs) on the fishing industry,” the authors wrote. Some of those effects cannot be measured solely with numbers, they wrote, adding: “The ocean … is a place where work is done and identities are fashioned. The people who fish for a living are not only defined by the communities where they reside, store their boats and gear, and sell their fish but also by where they spend much of their time working: at sea.”

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