Marine energy is an emerging renewable energy industry with the potential to produce 2300 terawatt-hours per year from resources within the United States. As development and testing of marine energy devices advance, regulatory and permitting decision-makers are concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the potential environmental effects resulting from the introduction of these novel devices in coastal and riverine environments. The Triton Initiative researches and provides recommendations for environmental monitoring technologies and methods to inform industry stakeholders with the data necessary to permit the testing of marine energy systems. Effective dissemination of the research findings is essential for improving the accessibility of data to stakeholders who may use the results to inform policy decisions, yet few frameworks for conducting science communications for marine energy projects exist. In this paper, we present tools, channels, and tactics for developing a science communication framework for marine energy projects, or similar areas of study, using the Triton Initiative’s pilot science communication program as a case study. By leveraging existing bodies of work in disciplines such as communications theory, marketing, public relations, and social science, the presented framework includes audience identification and analysis; channel development, including a website, blog, newsletter, social media, and webinars and presentations; and metrics for determining success. Outcomes from one year of Triton’s case study are presented, including the most effective tactics and lessons learned.
This article is part of the Special Issue, "Technology and Methods for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Renewable Energy".