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Offshore wind is growing fast as a solution to meet energy needs say experts at UHLC EENR lecture

Reginald Dwayne Betts.
Photo Credit: Mamadi Doumbouya

Anastasia Telesetsky, Professor of Law at California Polytechnic State University

Feb. 06, 2023 — The intersection of ethics, economics and law in the evolution of a blue economy and offshore wind development was illustrated by Anastasia Telesetsky, Professor of Law at California Polytechnic State University.

Telesetsky discussed a blue rush in offshore wind as well as general trends in per capita energy usage worldwide in “Winds of Change?: Expansion of Industrial Offshore Wind and Reflection on the need for Ocean Ethics” Thursday, January 12 during a webinar hosted by the University of Houston Law Center's Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center. The presentation is part of the Energy Transition and Governance series, sponsored by the European Union through its Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant.

“A blue economy was created in addition to a green economy to ensure ocean-based states had equitable access and use of marine resources,” Telesetsky said. “It needed to be low carbon, resource sufficient, and it needed to be inclusive.”

“As we know, offshore wind is already providing a significant source of electricity around the world, particularly in Europe, and it is poised to grow in the United States,” said Victor Flatt, co-director of the UH Law Center’s Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center. “It is being planned on as one of the major sources of carbon-free sources of energy going forward in the energy transition.”

“There is a blue rush towards offshore wind now, and this industry is poised to grow and grow quickly,” Telesetsky said. “It is going to be a core solution, and decision makers are putting their political capital, economic capital toward making this a reality, leading to bigger and bigger projects. We have already in the U.S. set a goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and 15 floating gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035.”

But Professor Telekineses was also focused on equity in the carbon transition. She noted that seeking to promote economic growth and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods, the blue economy is challenged by oceanic sustainability. A substitution solution, it targets carbon emission reduction, changing from fossil fuels to clean energy resources.

Professor Telesetsky suggests that instead of simply looking at energy substitution, we need to look at energy fairness, how much each country is using, and that this is an “ethics of care.”

The concept of care ethics is humility, and a blue economy needs to have distributional fairness between communities with different needs. Already China has announced 31 marine ecological preservation and restoration projects. India intends to ban single-use plastics nationwide, and Portugal plans to deploy 10 gigawatts of renewable ocean energy by 2030.

Additional presentations from the series can be found here:

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