Policy on Renewable Ocean Energy

Approved by the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors: June 28th, 2008 

Renewable Ocean Energy Policy

The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that technologies that utilize ocean waves, tides, currents and wind may offer important benefits as renewable sources of energy that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These renewable energy sources may also provide economic development through a cutting-edge industry for coastal communities.

Surfrider also recognizes that there are many questions and concerns about ocean energy, including potential impacts to ocean recreation, nearshore ecology, coastal processes, public safety, aesthetics, and fishing access.

Surfrider Foundation acknowledges the growing demand for energy worldwide and that our coasts and ocean may be considered as possible sites for energy generation using renewable, non-polluting technologies. The Surfrider Foundation will strive to support clean, renewable, low-impact sources of energy. The Foundation will work to ensure that energy generated from ocean resources meets the objectives below and is consistent with our mission.

Coastal community members and recreational ocean users, including surfers, are affected by the development of ocean energy in coastal communities and are key stakeholders in local, regional and national planning efforts.

The Surfrider Foundation believes the following principles must be applied when evaluating or planning for potential projects: 

  • Consider impacts to the environment through comprehensive assessments and application of best available science
  • Ensure public safety through design standards and development of emergency response plans
  • Require baseline data and frequent monitoring to quantify impacts to the environment and threats to public safety
  • Evaluate the impact of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) on the behavior of fishes, sharks, and marine mammals
  • Protect ocean recreation opportunities, including surfing, by ensuring that project sites do not impact or overlap with priority recreational areas
  • Consider fishing and other existing uses of proposed project areas to assess potential lost opportunities and evaluate trade-offs
  • Proceed incrementally and cautiously to ensure that impacts from one project are understood before expanding the size of that project or proceeding with additional projects
  • Initiate comprehensive planning for the ocean ecosystem to ensure an appropriate balance between emerging industrial uses and conservation
  • Employ adaptive management to ensure that new information is applied to assess needs for modification, mitigation, and/or removal.
  • Include meaningful community input and ensure transparency in the planning process to ensure local communities are informed about projects and have an opportunity to provide meaningful input

The Surfrider Foundation is an environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches. Our membership includes beach goers, surfers, windsurfers, fishermen, kayakers, other ocean users and people concerned with the world's beaches and oceans