Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2016


Environmental Science


Edward Van Buren


As humanity continues to exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the earth in its use of nonrenewable energy sources, it is imperative to find and shift to alternative renewable energy sources that can sustain human civilization. The ocean based phenomenon of tides, current, and waves are a way in which that source of energy can be obtained and broadened for human consumption. Oceanic energy can serve not only as a means to provide cleaner energy, but also improve the economy and the land based environment. The natural sciences and social sciences are examined within the quantitative data present. The natural sciences present within the data are not limited to the wave and tidal/current electrical generation within a given body of water, the quality of electrical transfer from generation to the grid, and the potential for impact on the water quality and marine life in the area. On the other hand, the quantitative data of the social sciences is reflective within the number of current wave and tidal/current renewable energy programs and those under planning, in relation to the political policies and civilian interests. The three disciplines that I explore include environmental politics, environmental geography and oceanography, and environmental engineering. I specifically target the environmental geography of the state of New York's continental shelf and its surrounding coastal zone. As for environmental politics, I examine coastal state and federal politics, laws, regulations, and civilian incentives/disincentives. In regards to environmental engineering, I discuss the relative technology currently being used within the field of obtaining ocean wave and tidal/current energy and the significance of certain grades of material within an oceanic environment. I utilize the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy program as a case study to indicate the significance and necessary expansion for further use of offshore renewable energy within New York territorial waters. My policy recommendations focus on the benefits that offshore renewable energy may provide given a combination of funding, and maritime geographic and ecological consideration.