Ocean Energy Agenda Supported by Coastal Mayors, Industrial Leaders, Academics and Environmentalists

December 22, 2008


(Washington, DC-December 18th) Ocean energy has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs in the United States and generate as much as 10 percent of the nation’s demand for electricity, the equivalent of all hydroelectric energy in the U.S. today. This good news comes from a growing and diverse coalition who recently presented a roadmap for harnessing the power of the ocean to transition teams from the incoming Obama administration. The document details how to fix the confusing and sometimes contradictory - array of federal regulations that now govern the industry.  


“In San Francisco, we are aggressively advancing tidal and wave power pilot projects,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “As we begin to shape our country’s new green energy future, it is important that we look to the ocean. The ocean is a great untapped resource that has the potential to create thousands of new jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment.”

Ocean energy includes a variety of technologies that convert waves, tides, and currents into electrical power.  Moving water is at least 700 times as dense as wind blowing at the same speed. There are currently only a handlful of ocean energy projects in U.S. waters. All are in the testing phase.   

“Ocean energy should be a part of a blue-green future for American energy needs,” said Diane Regas, associate vice president of Environmental Defense Fund“These technologies can help solve global warming, and we can build in protection for healthy oceans from the start.  The key is to test these projects quickly at a small scale, and to use the resulting data with the public to make sure that the technologies meet strong environmental standards. ”


A delegation organized by Environmental Defense Fund met on Tuesday with transition team members from Department of Energy, Department of Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to present the groups’ recommendations.


The coalition was convened earlier this year by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to begin a dialogue on ocean energy among industry leaders and conservationists. Early participants included Florida Power and Light (FPL), Pacific Gas and Electric (PGE), and the Surfrider Foundation, and the coalition has continued to grow over the last nine months. 


“This issue brings together key three priorities of the incoming administration: climate change, creating new green jobs and reasserting U.S. leadership on science and technology. Based on both the selection of President-elect Obama’s ‘Green Team’ and the attention we received from the transition teams today, we believe we will see strong action on these issues,” said Jack Sterne of Rising Tide Strategies, the organizer for the group. “We think it’s important to learn from the experience of the wind and solar companies who went overseas when they did not receive adequate leadership from this country.”


To read the recommendations click here.


Supporters of the Action Framework for Ocean Energy


Local Governments

Bill Baarsma, Mayor, Tacoma, WA

Mark Begich, Mayor, Anchorage, AK

Marty Blum, Mayor, Santa Barbara, CA

Keith Bohr, Mayor, Huntington Beach, CA

Gavin Newsom, Mayor, San Francisco, CA

Tom Potter, Mayor, Portland, OR 

Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism



Central Lincoln People’s Utility District

Florida Power & Light

Hawaiian Electric Company

Pacific Gas & Electric

Portland General Electric


Private Sector

Caithness Development, LLC

Free Flow Power

Global Energy Horizons, Inc.

Independent Natural Resources, Inc.

Ocean Power Technologies

Ocean Renewable Power Company LLC

Oceana Energy Company

Oceanlinx LLC

Pacific Energy Ventures LLC

Renewable Energy Holdings PLC

Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP

WaveBob LLC


Non-Governmental Organizations

Environmental Defense Fund

Hydropower Reform Coalition

Natural Heritage Institute

National Hydropower Association

Natural Resources Defense Council

Ocean Champions

Oregon Wave Energy Trust

Surfrider Foundation


Academic Institutions

New England Marine Renewable Energy Center

Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center

Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center

University of Hawaii at Manoa



Katharine Burnham, EDF (202) 415-5742; kburnham@edf.org

Jack Sterne, Rising Tides Strategies (907) 351-4294; jacksterne@mac.com