The Washington Department of Ecology is leading an effort to develop a marine spatial plan (MSP) for Washington’s Pacific coast. The plan is being developed in coordination with an interagency team that includes the Office of the Governor, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), Washington Sea Grant, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. The planning process also involves and engages coastal stakeholders, the public and local, tribal and federal governments. In particular, the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council (WCMAC) is advising on the development of the plan. WCMAC is a 26-member advisory group established in the Governor’s office and comprised of a diverse range of stakeholder interests. In support of this effort, DNR has engaged Industrial Economics, Incorporated and BST Associates to develop reports on five major sectors of the state’s marine economy: aquaculture; fishing (non-tribal); marine renewable energy; recreation and tourism; and shipping. These reports are intended to help state agencies, the WCMAC, and other stakeholders understand the trends and potential issues associated with economically important activity in the marine environment.
This report focuses on the marine renewable energy sector. It synthesizes information from publicly available sources to provide an overview of current economic activity, major trends in activity, and potential future resource uses and needs. In addition, the report draws on perspectives and insights from industry experts and relevant government agencies to highlight critical issues affecting the sector – including any current or potential future conflicts within the sector or with other sectors – and the role of marine spatial planning in addressing these issues (see Appendix A for a complete list of individuals interviewed). It also identifies key remaining questions, data quality issues, and data gaps.