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Deployment of Ocean Renewable Energy Through Area-Based Management: Finding an Adequate Legal Framework

November 2015

Citation: 45 ELR 11051

Issue: 11

Author: Xiao Recio-Blanco

Renewable energy projects located in the ocean are likely to play an increasingly important role in supplying electricity worldwide. Experience in ocean management indicates that, as new uses of the seas are made available, ocean space allocation becomes an increasingly controversial issue, demanding the attention of regulators and policymakers alike. Nations interested in developing their ocean renewable energy (ORE) potential can learn from the history of regulatory reform in countries such as Belgium, China, or the United Kingdom, as well as by analogy to the development of utility-scale solar projects on federal lands in the American Southwest. They can take steps to develop an area-based legal framework for ocean resources that is adequate to promote these renewable sources of energy, while at the same time balancing the interests of ORE investors, other sea users, and protection of the environment.

Xiao Recio-Blanco is a Visiting Attorney at Earthjustice. He holds a J.D. from the Complutense University of Madrid, and an S.J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

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