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Renewable Energy from the Tides

woman interviewing man in front of harborThe Maine Tidal Power Initiative: Linking knowledge to action for responsible tidal power development

Institution: University of Maine
Sponsor: National Science Foundation through the Sustainability Solutions Initiative

Maine is one of the most promising places in the world for tidal power. Gayle Zydlewski and Teresa Johnson are leading an SSI research team to help ensure that tidal power is developed in ways that promote economic development and protect marine ecosystems as part of the Maine Tidal Power Initiative.

Why This Project?

Eastport harborFollowing a successful demonstration project, an energy developer plans to install the nation’s first commercial tidal power project using underwater turbines in Maine’s Cobscook Bay. Zydlewski, a fish biologist, and Johnson, a social scientist, are studying the environmental, economic and social issues surrounding tidal power in communities along the Bay.

The researchers are collaborating with local, state and federal stakeholders and energy developers to address concerns including how underwater turbines affect marine life and fisheries and the potential of tidal power development to create jobs in economically depressed regions.

Connecting Knowledge with Action

The SSI team’s goal is to create a model process that communities in Maine and elsewhere can use to make informed decisions about developing tidal power in local waters. Findings also will be used by state and federal regulators to guide tidal power development and will inform the sustainable development of this renewable energy resource worldwide.

Update on the Research

Team Members:

  • Teresa Johnson, School of Marine Sciences (team leader)
  • Gayle Zydlewski, School of Marine Sciences (team leader)
  • Chris Bartlett, Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension
  • Jessica Jansujwicz, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sustainability Solutions Initative
  • Michael “Mick” Peterson, Mechanical Engineering
  • Huijie Xue, School of Marine Sciences
  • Richard Kimball, Maine Maritime Academy, Mechanical Engineering
  • James McCleave, School of Marine Sciences

Resources

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Supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.