Even though it is a tremendous new way to produce energy, it has not had a fair chance yet to show its full capabilities, because of the opposition.
One opposition group that will need to be battled against when it comes to a new wave energy project are local fisherman.
Many projects have had struggles with fisherman because they believe wave power projects will disturb marine life in the area, as well as block off sections of the water where they should be doing their jobs. A company in Mendocino County, California had to face this type of opposition recently, and in the end their project was shut down.
One hundred and fifty to six hundred and eighty wave energy converters were due to be placed off the coast of Mendocino County in order to harness energy from the ocean. This was opposed heavily by the fisherman of the area, so when the company did not use the strongest tactics to counter the opposition group, they lost the battle, and the project was ultimately cancelled.
In Florence, Oregon a wave energy project consisting of ten floating steel structures off of its territorial coast, was cancelled as well after a battle against a local opposition group. This project would have reduced fossil fuels, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as produced energy for the people of the area through the ocean’s waves.
The proposed project was shut down however after the Oregon Surfrider Foundation complained it would jeopardize the recreation in the ocean, as well as public safety, and the quality of the environment. This is just another example of public opposition making it difficult for a renewable energy project to come together.
The United States is not the only country dealing with wave energy opposition either. In Perran Beach, England, a very prominent surfing town was set to have a wave power project placed about twenty miles off of the coast. This project, the “Wave Hub”, is a fifty six million dollar investment that would generate twenty megawatts of electricity, making it the largest wave energy project in the world. However, local surfers believed that the project would diminish the size of the waves, and hurt the overall economy of the surf town.
It was not the idea of the wave energy project that was being opposed after all, it was the location. With one store manager in the town stating, “I’m for the idea of wave hubs, but this is a ‘NIMBY’ thing: Not in my backyard.” These wave energy projects are a popular idea with some people in the community, but need planning and explaining to gain more supporters and reduce the amount of opposition.
Whether it is the largest proposed project in the world, or a local project that will be used for the better of the community, opposition groups will often find their way into the argument, and make it harder for these projects to become a reality. As that happens, jobs and money are lost each day that an opposition group delays a project. So, when dealing with this type of opposition, it is important to remember these steps.
Following these steps can go a long way in streamlining the process of successfully implementing your project. Remember, it is always important to stay a step ahead in the game. Everyone is going to run into problems proposing wave energy in a community. If you are well prepared though, your project will only experience minor bumps along the way.
President, Public Strategy Group
Al Maiorino started Public Strategy Group, Inc. in 1995. He has developed and managed multiple corporate public affairs campaigns in a variety of industries such as gaming, cable television, retail development, auto racing, power plant/wind farm projects, and housing/residential projects. Al received his BA in political science and a MA in American studies from the University of Connecticut.