Marine Energy Social and Economic Data Collection Toolkit

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Marine energy projects have the potential to create significant benefits by stimulating economic growth, generating revenue, creating jobs, improving local infrastructure and services, and providing energy security and resilience. However, if projects are not carefully planned and do not include communities in the development process, there could be adverse effects or changes that do not align with local cultures and community values or that provide inequitable distribution of costs and benefits. Collecting social and economic data is necessary to anticipate these effects, and to develop and appropriately site marine energy projects that suitably address community needs, incorporate and address community values, and satisfy consenting requirements. Despite the importance of this information, consistent methodology for social and economic data collection to inform marine energy development is lacking. There is little documentation from past projects, and if documentation exists, it is not often clear how the social and economic data have been collected or analyzed. This toolkit aims to close some of these gaps by facilitating easy access to information on social and economic data, how to collect it (baseline and impacts), with examples; provide social science background for traditionally more technical audiences; and guide data collection efforts with a template.

This toolkit was initiated out of two workshops held at the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (Cork, Ireland, 2017) and Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR, Kirkwall, UK, 2017) by Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) and Ocean Energy Systems-Environmental. Additional work on these topics is discussed in the 2020 State of the Science Report chapter on Social and Economic Data Collection, and has since been elevated through continuing work with the United States Department of Energy's (U.S. DOE) Water Power Technologies Office under the Deployment Readiness Framework.

Template for Data Collection

The template for data collection builds on the Good Management Practices for the collection of social and economic data for marine energy developed by OES-Environmental and the findings of the OES-Environmental 2020 State of the Science Report chapter on Social and Economic Data Collection. The intended audiences for these templates include marine energy developers and their consultants that need to conduct a socioeconomic assessment as part of their regulatory requirements; strategic planners at the government level that are interested in programmatic socioeconomic assessments (e.g., U.S. DOE); and researchers interested in assessing socioeconomic cumulative effects of marine energy.

The template organizes the social or economic data that can be collected for baseline and impact assessments by themes with 54 key metrics, provides resources and methods for how to collect that data and the typical units that are used in reporting that data. The last two columns are left blank for a user to fill in notes or data collected on the metrics selected.

Download the fillable template here. For more information on the metrics described, refer to the Social and Economic Data Tool below or the Definitions document.


The table below provides a list of metrics identified as common in the literature for social and economic data collection for marine energy and other relevant development projects. It is sortable by category and searchable by text to connect metrics with approaches for quantification. Full references for the definitions provided for each metric are available in the Definitions document.

View the Instructions document for detailed information on using the tool.


Category Metrics Synonyms or related metrics Methods Examples from marine energy Examples from other relevant industries Tools
Social acceptance

the positive or neutral reaction of citizens when a project is proposed in their local area

choice experiment, contingent valuation, eye-tracking technology, indicator system, interviews, multi-criteria decision making matrix, participatory methodologies, perception studies, pestel analysis, principle component analysis, shared socioeconomic pathway narratives, social media analysis, survey Posterari and Waseda 2022, Jenkins et al. 2018, DeSanti 2020 Zaunbrecker et al. 2016, Bidwell 2023, Dion 2019, Devine-Wright & Wiersma 2020, Kim et al. 2019, Westerberg et al. 2015, Walker et al. 2014, Rand & Hoen 2017, Rodriguez-Segura et al. 2023, Agyekum et al. 2021, Booth et al. 2022, Petrova et al. 2016
Social accessibility

the degree to which a process, product, device, service, environment, or facility is usable by as many people as possible

interviews, social life cycle assessment, structural equation modeling, survey Alwah et al. 2021 UrbanAccess
Social adaptation

adjustment to changes in environmental or social conditions, particularly in the context of renewable energy

framework, loop analysis, scenario planning, survey Bennett et al. 2016, Firmansyah & Dharmawan Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange
Social, Economic aesthetics

visual or other beauty-related aspects of a landscape or seascape

environmental impact assessment, focus group, GIS, interviews, participatory value mapping, principle component analysis, seascape landscape visual metholodology, spatial modeling, survey, vespa framework Sullivan et al. 2013, White et al. 2020, BOEM 2021
Economic affordability

the state of being cheap enough for people to be able to buy

interviews, survey, techno-economic analysis Dubois & Meier 2016, Deller 2018 (Un-named) TEA for Tidal Energy, State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform
Social, Economic barriers / enablers

the aspects of a project, process, or community that either facilitate or prevent success

GIS, interviews, workshop Brummer 2018, Lucas et al. 2017, Petrova et al. 2016 (Un-named) PESTEL/SWOT framework
Social behaviors

human responses to change or patterns of resource use

hypothetical experiment, interviews, questionnaire Klein & Coffey 2016
Economic capacity

a non-static aspect describing the human, technical, economic, or social resources available in a community to participate

case study, comprehensive vulnerability framework, economic analysis, focus group, fuzzy logic model, geospatial analysis, industry research, interviews, observations, participatory methodologies, scenarios, social capital analysis, structural equation modeling, survey Marine Energy Wales 2020, Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Tull et al. 2016 AEDG Community Metric Explorer
Economic capital expenditure (CAPEX)

an investment of money to aquire or upgrade fixed assets, typically a one-time cost that enables future growth

case study, economic analysis, GIS-te software tool, input-output model, scenarios Draycott et al. 2018, Marine Energy Wales 2019, OES-Environmental 2020, Marine Energy Wales 2020, Têtu and Chozas 2021, Soukissian et al. 2023 Wall Street Prep Capex Guide
Social climate concerns

perspectives of individuals / community on the severity of impacts due to anthropogenic climate change or contributions to further environmental degradation

case study, economic framework, interviews, survey, workshop Dreyer et al. 2017, Trueworthy and DuPont 2021 Brummer 2018, Hagen and Pijawka 2015 National Aggregates of Geospatial Data Collection (NAGDC)
Social, Economic community benefits

positive impacts to a broad societal group generated by a project

case study, economic model, focus group, hypothetical experiment, interviews, social impact assessment Soukissian et al. 2023 Thomas et al. 2022
Social community structure

the relationships among the people, groups, institutions, stakeholders, and management of a community

census, ethnographic fieldwork (participant observations), focus group, interviews, media content analysis, photovoice, Q study, social amplification of risk framework, social capital analysis, social impact assessment, theory of social structures, workshop Equimar 2012, Gjorgievski et al. 2021, International Hydropower Association 2021 Energy Transitions Playbook
Economic compensation

payment or remuneration for work or services performed or for harm suffered

equator principles, framework, life cycle assessment, risk assessment, social ecological model, survey van Wijk et al. 2021, Kerr et al. 2017
Social, Economic conflict

any disagreement or difference of opinions between individuals or groups involved or impacted in the planning of a project

case study, fuzzy multi-criteria analysis, GIS, interviews, interviews, microgrid modeling, power system modeling, spatial modeling, survey, techno-economic analysis Omenge et al. 2020, Akita et al. 2020 (Un-named) Spatial decision support tools
Economic cost

any aspect related to the payment required for items or services associated with a project

arcwind, cost breakdown structure, cost-benefit analysis, economic analysis, economic dispatch model, economic feasibility analysis, jedi model, multi-criteria decision making matrix, scenarios, simulations, static computable general equilibrium model, survey, techno-economic analysis Hernández-Fontes et al. 2020 Robertson et al. 2020 DTOcean, REopt
Social, Economic cultural values

the core principles and ideals on which a community exists and relies upon. These can be linked to the physical landscape, social identity and beliefs, or knowledge and customs/history

case study, contingent valuation, ethnographic fieldwork, focus group, hedonic valuation models, interviews, participatory methodologies, Q study, social capital analysis, social media analysis, spatial analysis, stakeholder analysis, survey, theory of social structures, value mapping, vespa framework Loring & Hinzmann 2018 (Un-named) Spatial decision support tools
Social demographics

the social characteristics and statistics of a community, including: age, race, ethnicity, gender, education, employment, etc.

analysis, census, focus group, household survey, interviews, observations, policy and program analysis, workshop Devine-Wright 2011, Marine Scotland Science 2015 CDC Social Vulnerability Index, Community Subsistence Information System, FEMA Resiliency Analysis and Planning Tool, My Tribal Area, National Aggregates of Geospatial Data Collection (NAGDC), US Census Bureau 2020 Population and Housing State Data, Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
Social displacement

a situation in which people or traditional owners/users are forced to leave or feel excluded from a space where they have historically lived, visited, or operated within

case study, computable general equilibrium model, survey Cohen & Pettit 2019, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre 2018 Displacement Risk Indicators
Economic economic feasibility

the degree to which the economic advantages of something to be made, done, or achieved are greater than the economic costs

analytical hierarchy process method, dynamic computable equilibrium model, economic feasibility/viability analysis, focus group, fully modified ordinary least square (fmols) regression model, industry research, input-output model, interviews, jedi model, life cycle assessment, natural capital evaluation framework, portfolio model, Q methodology, qualititative descriptive analysis, short-run granger causality tests, survey, techno-economic analysis An Economic Evaluation of Wave Energy Conversion Devices, Economic-financial modeling for marine current harnessing projects EU Arcwind project, Filguiera-Vizoso et al. 2022, Pires et al. 2022, Castro-Santos & Filguiera-Vizoso 2019 (Un-named) TEA for Tidal Energy, DTOcean, HOMER Pro, REopt, RETScreen, Selkie MRE Technoeconomic GIS
Economic ecosystem services

the direct and indirect contributions of natural systems to human systems, including cultural, provisioning, regulating, and supporting services

case study, driver-activity-pressure-state-impact-response framework, ecosystem service assessments, GIS, interviews, natural capital evaluation framework, observations, participatory mapping, participatory methodologies, scenarios, survey, value mapping, vespa framework, workshop Trifonova et al. 2022, Reyers et al. 2013, Brown et al. 2014 Critical Habitat Mapper, InVEST, InVEST Wave Energy Model component, Marine Mapping Tool
Social education

the level of formal schooling received by individuals in the community and the distribution of knowledge

census, census, expert elicitation, indicator system, interviews, map tool, polls, Q methodology, survey, workshop Smith 1995 USDA Economic Research Service
Social, Economic emissions

the term used to describe the gases and particles which are put into the air by various anthropogenic sources, typically focusing on carbon dioxide

dynamic computable equilibrium model, input-output model, life cycle assessment, model, short-run granger causality tests, swot analysis Ewing-Thiel & Manarolla 2014 AirToxScreen, SCATTER
Economic employment

available jobs and work opportunities created by a project

census data, economic impact analysis, economic model, indicator system, input-output model, interviews, microsimulation, Q methodology, social life cycle assessment, surveys, value chain analysis Marine Energy Wales 2019, OES-Environmental 2020, Marine Energy Wales 2020, Quirapas and Taeihagh 2020, Marine Energy Wales 2021, Soukissian et al. 2023 US Bureau of Labor 2023 Community Subsistence Information System, My Tribal Area, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Program, USDA Economic Research Service
Social energy justice and equity

the concepts of equity, affordability, accessibility, and participation in the energy system and energy transition regardless of race, nationality, income, or geographic location

case study, energy equity gap, energy justice metric (ejm) tool, environmental justice framework, interviews, policy and program analysis, social life cycle assessment, survey, vespa framework Jenkins et al. 2018, Caballero et al. 2023 Levenda et al. 2021, Barlow et al. 2022, Heffron et al. 2022, Mueller & Brooks 2020, Energy Equity Framework 2022, Fortier et al. 2019, Energy Justice Workbook, Sovacool et al. 2019 Energy Justice Dashboard, Justice40 Map, SMILE Spatial Microsimulation, Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
Economic energy security

the uninterrupted availability of energy at an affordable price

cost-benefit analysis, socioeconomic analysis, workshop Manasseh et al. 2017, Quirapas and Taeihagh 2020, Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Assessment of Capabilities in Energy Security (ACES) Tool
Economic exports

resources, goods, and services that are produced domestically but sold abroad

case study, survey, workshop, computer general equilibrium model, interviews, comprehensive index Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Carneiro et al. 2016, Ralph & Hancock 2019, Sovacool and Mukherjee 2011
Social, Economic fisheries

commercial, subsistence / cultural, or recreational harvest of fish, shellfish, or other species from the sea

ecological-economic agent-based model, environmental impact assessment, existing data from fisheries management, fishing effort data analysis, interviews, participatory methodologies, Q methodology, spatial analysis, static computable general equilibrium model, survey, workshop Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Qu et al. 2023, de Figueiredo Xavier et al. 2022, Munroe et al. 2022, Perry and Heyman 2020, Kleiber et al. 2018 Fishery Performance Indicators Tool, Global Fishing Watch, NOAA Community Social Vulnerability Indicators
Economic funding

money given by a government, organization, or other entity for an event or activity

case study, model, survey, techno-economic analysis, bibliometric analysis, social network study Aleixandre-Tudo et al. 2019, Lam & Law 2018 EERE Exchange, European Commission SEDIA
Social gender

characterics or behavioral aspects of women, men, or other gender identies that are socially constructed, including norms, behaviors, and roles, as well as relationships and dynamics within a community

bibliometric and cluster analysis, industry surveys Pearl-Martinez & Stephens 2016, Bagdi et al. 2023 GenderWave, WHO Gender Assessment Tool
Economic grid

aspects related to the existing electrical distribution system in a community and interconnection with broader regional systems

database, economic dispatch model, GIS Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, survey Cohen et al. 2022, Mendoza-Vizcaino et al. 2019, Amaro et al. 2022 REopt
Economic gross value added (GVA)

the amount generated by any unit engaged in the production of goods and services, used to measure the contribution made by an industry or sector and is calculated by the output minus consumption

case study, computable general equilibrium model, economic dispatch model, input-output model, scenarios, stochastic modeling, value chain analysis, workshop Marine Scotland Science 2015, OES-Environmental 2020, University of Edinburgh 2021, Soukissian et al. 2023
Social health

the physical and mental wellness of individuals in a community

census, indicator system, interviews, media content analysis, self-assessment, social amplification of risk framework, survey Soukissian et al. 2023 AirToxScreen, Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool
Economic income

The payment people or organizations receive for providing labor, resources, or services

census, comprehensive vulnerability framework, interviews, survey Soukissian et al. 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Program, USDA Economic Research Service, US Census Bureau 2021 Income in the US
Economic levelized cost of energy (LCOE)

summary metric that combines the primary technology cost and performance parameters: capital expenditures, operations expenditures, and capacity factor

case study, cost analysis, cost-benefit analysis, economic viability/feasibility analysis, fuzzy multi-criteria analysis, GIS, microgrid modeling, power system modeling, remote community optimization model, scenarios, simulation, techno-economic analysis Têtu and Chozas 2021 Filguiera-Vizoso et al. 2022 DTOcean, State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform
Economic livelihood

a means of making a living that encompasses individual or group capabilities, assets, income and activities required to secure the necessities of life

case study, econometric models, household survey, interviews, spatial-dpsir, survey Andrews et al. 2021
Social navigation

aspects related to the movement of vessels in the ocean, navigable waterways, or around a marine energy project

big data, case study, environmental impact assessment, fuzzy comprehensive evaluation theory, GIS, navigation risk assessments, spatial model, survey, workshop Rawson et al. 2022, Mehdi et al. 2018 Kpler Marine Traffic
Economic net present value (NPV)

a formula used to determine the current value of an investment, project, or business in the future incorporating discounting

cost-benefit analysis, economic analysis, economic feasibility analysis, swot analysis, techno-economic analysis Filguiera-Vizoso et al. 2022, Castro-Santos & Filguiera-Vizoso 2019 Economics of Energy Efficiency Calculator, NPV Calculator
Social participation

involvement of individuals or groups in any aspect of a project

analysis of public dialogue, case study, focus group, interviews, modular participatory processes, observations, semi-systematic narrative meta-synthesis, social life cycle assessment, survey, vespa framework, workshop Park et al. 2022, Klain et al. 2015, IRENA 2021
Economic payback period

the number of years required to recover the original cash investment

cost-benefit analysis, economic feasibility analysis, techno-economic analysis Filguiera-Vizoso et al. 2022 Omni Calculator
Social perceptions

a belief or opinion, held by individuals or groups about how things seem

case study, census, cluster analysis, expert elicitation, fisheries management toolbox, focus group, integrated model of behavioral prediction, interviews, participant observations, participatory methodologies, pestel analysis, procedural analysis, public meeting, scenario planning, stakeholder analysis, survey Beyond LCOE: A multi-criteria evaluation framework for offshore renewable energy projects Scottish Government 2022, Petrova et al. 2016, Glasson et al. 2022 (Un-named) Interdisciplinary framework
Social place attachment

the emotional bond between person and place

interviews, participatory methodologies, perception studies, survey Devine-Wright 2011, Jenkins et al. 2018, DeSanti 2020 Thomas et al. 2022
Social, Economic policies and governance

formal or informal structures of leadership and the ideas or plans used for decision-making in development of projects

case study, expert elicitation, interviews, msp, policy analysis, review of legislation, strategic environmental assessment, survey, workshop Lynn et al. 2000, Fischer & Miller 2017, Patton & Sawicki 2013 Marine Energy Toolkit, Renewable Energy Permitting Wizard
Social, Economic resilience

the capacity to tolerate, absorb, cope with, and adjust to changing social, economic or environmental conditions while retaining key elements of structure, function, and identity

case study, focus group, GIS, interviews, participant observation, participatory methodologies, scenarios, social vulnerability mapping, survey Quirapas and Taeihagh 2020, Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Silver et al. 2019, Sterling et al. 2017 Energy Resilience in the Public Sector State and Local Solution Center, FEMA Resiliency Analysis and Planning Tool, RADE: Resilience Assessment & Data Explorer, State Energy Resilience
Social risk

a measure of the extent to which someone or a community is threatened by a potential circumstance or event, and includes i) the severity of adverse impacts if the event occurs, and ii) the likelihood of occurrence

case study, PESTEL analysis, risk analysis, cost-benefit analysis, focus group, interviews, survey Kazimierczuk et al. 2023 Risk Assessment Tool
Social safety

being protected from harm or danger or the precautions taken to avoid harm to individuals or a community

big data, GIS, indicator system, interviews, social impact assessment Shiau & Chuen-Yu 2016
Social social license

refers to the perceptions of local stakeholders that a project, a company, or an industry that operates in a given area or region is socially acceptable or legitimate

case study, discrete choice survey, focus group, interviews, participatory methodologies, social impact assessment, stakeholder analysis, survey Kazimierczuk et al. 2023
Social spatial aspects

This term contains aspects of marine spatial planning, co-users of ocean space, topography, distribution of resources and people across a landscape, and all other spatially represented information. Note that this term is not a metric itself, but rather a categorization of types various types of data.

case study, ecospace model, GIS, marine spatial plan, participatory mapping, participatory methodologies, spatially continuous resource economic analysis model, visual impact assessment quantiative indicators, workshop Marine Scotland Science 2015, Soukissian et al. 2023 (Un-named) GIS multi-criteria decision analysis, (Un-named) Interdisciplinary framework, (Un-named) Spatial decision support tools, Critical Habitat Mapper, InVEST Wave Energy Model component, Marine Cadastre National Viewer, Marine Energy Atlas, Marine Energy Toolkit, National Aggregates of Geospatial Data Collection (NAGDC), Renewable EnerGIS, Renewable Energy Data Explorer, Selkie MRE Technoeconomic GIS, SMILE Spatial Microsimulation, Tribal Energy Atlas, WavEC Oasis
Economic supply chain

sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity

case study, deployment scenarios, survey, value chain analysis Marine Energy Wales 2019, OES-Environmental 2020, Marine Energy Wales 2020, University of Edinburgh 2021, Marine Energy Wales 2021
Economic tourism impacts

a broad concept encapsulating the direct, indirect, and induced effects of projects on existing tourism or recreational opportunities

combined travel cost-contingent survey, crowd-sourced photographs, environmental impact assessment, focus group, GIS, interviews, media content analysis, mixed logit model, participant observations, participatory methodologies, preference surveys, principle component analysis, recreation model, regression model, semi-systematic narrative meta-synthesis, short-run granger causality tests, stakeholder analysis, stated preference study, survey, tourism and recreation impact assessment, vacation rental data, value mapping, workshop Machado & de Andres 2023, Sessions et al. 2016, Unhasuta et al. 2021, Kalvet et al. 2020, Canteiro et al. 2018
Social trust

the degree to which a community or individuals perceive governance structures, authorities, organizations or processes to be fair, reliable, and in their best interests

case study, interviews, observations, Q methodology, social capital analysis, survey Segura et al. 2017, Marine Energy Wales 2020
Social vision

comprises the community values, wishes, fears and desires for the future.

guide, Q study, workbook, interviews Loring & Hinzmann 2018
Social, Economic vulnerability

the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets, or system to the impacts of hazards due to the conditions determined by physical, social, economic, and environmental factors or processes

ai chatbot, case study, composite index of key pressures, comprehensive vulnerability framework, computable general equilibrium model, focus group, GIS, indicator-based vulnerability assessment framework, interviews, loop analysis, observations, participatory methodologies, Q methodology, scenarios, semi-structured interviews, social capital analysis, spatial-dpsir, stakeholder analysis, survey, vulnerability index Heleno et al. 2022, Tull et al. 2016 CDC Social Vulnerability Index, FEMA Resiliency Analysis and Planning Tool, NOAA Community Social Vulnerability Indicators, State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform
Social, Economic well-being

Social: an end state in which basic human needs safety, health, happiness) are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement.

Economic: having ones most basic survival needs met and sustainable income and assets so to prosper

analysis, case study, community wellbeing framework, decision support tool: community vibrancy dashboard, focus group, indicator development, interviews, media content analysis, participant observations, participatory methodologies, Q methodology, survey, workshop OES-Environmental 2020, Soukissian et al. 2023 Hattam et al. 2015, Thomas et al. 2022, Szymkowiak et al. 2021, Gollan & Barclay 2020 NOAA Community Social Vulnerability Indicators

Additional sources of information on the toolkit and process of development are available below.

If there are any updates you'd like to suggest or remaining questions, please reach out to