John Moran

Document Type



“Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. In order to limit our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and curtail rising consumer energy costs, the United States has adjusted its energy trajectory to support more actively the “development and integration of new clean and domestic renewable energy resources into the electric grid.” Although some contend the recent emergence of unconventional oil extraction methods, especially shale gas fracking,3 may hedge political support for renewable energy sources, hydrokinetic power provides a highly affordable and renewable, carbon-free energy source-our nation’s largest supply of*324 clean energy. In comparison to renewable wind energies, the fact that water is 832 times denser than air makes the aggregate of “our tides, waves, ocean current, and free-flowing rivers [[[] an untapped, powerful, [and] highly concentrated [] energy resource.” Moreover, hydrokinetic energy may offer the cleanest and swiftest route to energy independence for the United States, particularly for northern New England.

This Comment provides a comparative analysis of hydrokinetic energy projects off the northerly coastlines of New England, focusing exclusively on Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Part II offers a basic primer on hydrokinetic technology, and how it actually works. Part III navigates through the vortex of federal and state regulations governing ocean energy development in national waters. Part IV considers the measures that Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts have taken to address the dire need for renewable energy through hydrokinetic energy development. Lastly, Part V concludes that the varying degree of success for hydrokinetic energy projects in northern New England is mostly attributable to tempered energy policies, limited state financial resources, understandable distaste for the existing federal regulatory framework, and considerable attention to legitimate environmental, commercial, and recreational interests. In summary, this Comment presents a comprehensive overview of the ways in which hydrokinetic technology is being used to harness the ocean’s power and produce clean, renewable energy for residents throughout “Norumbega” or northern New England.

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