OceanReports Supports President Biden’s Climate Priorities
April 16, 2021
The ocean may look like a vast expanse of open space, but if you look below the surface, there’s a lot going on. That’s why NOAA partnered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop the MarineCadastre.gov suite of products to help ocean planners explore this resource from the comfort of their own computers. The latest tool in this package is OceanReports.
Since the launch of OceanReports on Earth Day two years ago, this tool has become a go-to information source, providing instant access to more than 100 ocean and coastal datasets. Ocean professionals, as well as nonprofessionals and the conservation community, can use this information to find the best location for an aquaculture site, identify suitable areas for offshore wind development, support port expansion efforts, and much more. By providing ocean intelligence to achieve both renewable energy and conservation goals, OceanReports provides a path forward to support President Biden’s climate priorities.
Encouraging Clean Energy Offshore
Offshore wind and other renewable energy initiatives are growing along the U.S. coasts. Renewable energy siting was the foundation for which MarineCadastre.gov was established and is a strong focus of OceanReports. Data provided include offshore wind resource potential, offshore wind planning areas, and offshore wind energy leases. Comprehensive data resources also show the close proximity of electric power facilities, which helps to determine if the facility can handle the influx of power generated by offshore energy.
While those data are the obvious candidates to assist an offshore wind project, there’s more: seafloor depth, elevation, and information about potential conflicts such as endangered species and protected areas, as well as other ocean uses, such as shipping and fishing, which are important to the ocean economy.
“Offshore renewable energy is the climate-friendly future of electric power for much of the coastal U.S. With leases issued for offshore wind and marine hydrokinetics, and plans for their development getting closer to fruition, the time is ideal for OceanReports to help planners identify the most suitable locations for their plans,” says Christine Taylor, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management team lead for MarineCadastre.gov.
One company is using OceanReports in a pioneering effor to harness fuel from algal biomasses in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Along with remote sensing data, the company used oceanographic and biophysical data, along with current and wind condition information found within OceanReports, to track algal biomasses. Not only could this effort provide a clean, renewable source of fuel, but the process also removes harmful excess nutrients from the ocean and could provide economic benefits to surrounding areas.
This is just one example of the myriad ways OceanReports can be used to support ocean industries and save time and resources in the process. A new video provides additional examples and information.
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