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April 2024 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

Spring into this month's research summaries and sustainability tips.

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APRIL 3: RESEARCH SUMMARY - OFFSHORE OBSTACLES

 A vast offshore wind farm
Tyler McFarland (@tdukem)

While offshore wind is a potential solution to the climate crisis, there are 5 “grand” financial obstacles to offshore wind in the U.S., according to a study published in January 2024.


TLDR; the process is complicated, risky, and expensive. But some solutions have come from the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022, and other solutions may bring other benefits.


Five Obstacles:

  1. The Timing Mismatches, High Costs, and Jurisdictional Complexities of the Development Phase. Basically, this means the development phase is complicated due to differences in location, permit processes, and high cost/high risk of buying the space for the operation. 

  2. The uncertainty and systematic transfers of tax credits away from OSW built into the U.S. Federal Investment Tax Credit. The project owners generally did not meet the high bar for tax credits. The Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022, addresses this issue by allowing for the tax credits to be transferred/sold. “In theory, this change could solve much of the tax equity supply problem and increase competition.

  3. Developing a skilled workforce capable of navigating and problem-solving the harsh conditions offshore. These offshore projects demand “highly skilled and experienced workers.” That will take time and $$.

  4. Grid Transmission and Integration Barriers. The energy generated by wind farms needs to be delivered to our homes and communities, and we lack the infrastructure to do so.

  5. Financing and Scaling Up Floating OSW Technology. Most of the U.S.'s coasts are too deep to install turbines, so we need to make floating structures. Though it is in its early stages, we do not yet have this technology.



APRIL 5: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - TELL A FRIEND

The more people know the benefits of offshore wind, the more likely it will be that governments and businesses will advance these energy solutions. Share our work with your friend and help us further our work to keep the ocean everblue. There is still much to be learned about offshore wind, but what we do know seems promising. Stay tuned next month for a dive into the unknowns of offshore wind.


APRIL 15: RESEARCH SUMMARY - A (NO)TAKE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

We talk about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) a lot, but this time let’s go a bit more in-depth!


No-take MPAs are an important factor in protecting marine ecosystems and biodiversity; realistic simulations look at the effects that no-take MPAs have on 231 exploited fish and invertebrate stocks around the globe, taking into account the added threat of climate change.

 A silver tip shark swims in a no-take MPA. There is a hook and line stuck in its jaws from illegal poaching.
John Myshot

The average marine biomass loss caused by climate change is predicted to be up to 15%. However, if 30% of these exploited fishing stocks are covered under no-take MPAs, and overfishing intensity is reduced, marine biomass is retained and potential fishing catch actually increases, despite the dangers that climate change presents!





The text says “ ‘Biomass flow,’ is the transfer of energy through the food web. Biomass flow levels are determined by: Primary production: photo-synthesizers make oxygen and sugars from carbon dioxide, offering air and food to many animals in the ecosystem Trophic transfer: the movement of nutrients from one trophic level to another Flow kinetic: a measurement of the speed of biomass transfers within a food web Climate change warms waters, decreasing primary production and driving faster and less efficient biomass transfers. This means that the amount and quality of energy moving through the food web is decreasing.” With a graphic of a food chain below it

APRIL 16: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - POWER IN UNPLUGGING

Wondering how you can protect biomass flow between trophic levels in the ocean? We have to stop our warming climate!


Every little bit of energy saved helps to decrease our carbon footprint- slowing the warming of our oceans. Make sure to unplug your chargers for things like your cellphone, laptop, iPads, etc. when not in use.


Though you may not have your device plugged in, these power cords still use energy by being plugged in. Do your part to unplug and reduce your carbon footprint!


APRIL 17: RESEARCH SUMMARY - OFFSHORE WIND EFFECTS

Offshore wind is important in addressing climate change. But we still don’t know all the impacts on marine life. Researchers measured the positive and negative effects on marine life during both the building of offshore wind farms (construction phase) and the operation of these wind farms (operational phase). The construction phase has highly net negative (52%) effects on marine life, while the net positive (34%) and net negative (32%) effects of the operational phase on marine life are nearly even. While there is a lot more research to be done, these findings help engineers, developers, and other researchers identify ways we can make the construction and operational phase safer for marine life.



APRIL 21: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - OFFSHORE WIND + SCIENCE

 Everblue team member Ty holds a computer with an everblue sticker on it and the Everblue website pulled up on the desktop

How can we advance technology and innovation? By making science more important in all of our lives! You are already prioritizing science by following us on social media and learning something each week; now invite your friends to do so as well. And if you have the resources, we ask that you become a monthly donor to help us further our scientific education. As more of us prioritize science, the more resources we will dedicate to furthering scientific discovery, advancing technology, and innovation. We need everyone to keep the ocean everblue.

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