Mapping a blue energy future for British Columbia: Creating a holistic framework for tidal stream energy development in remote coastal communities

Riley Lindsay Richardson, Bradley Buckham, Lauren Helen McWhinnie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study develops and implements an interdisciplinary framework to provide a holistic examination of the potential for tidal stream turbines (TST) to displace diesel generated electricity in remote coastal First Nations communities in British Columbia. In doing so it seeks to answer the following research questions: what is the distribution of practical tidal resources in the study region, for which communities is tidal energy a potentially viable electricity source, and what are the benefits and challenges of TST development. GIS Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and interviews with high level marine spatial planning decision makers are used to identify practical resource sites, bridge knowledge gaps, assess views towards TST development, and understand the desired characteristics of community energy systems. Additional techno-economic criteria for tidal site identification are included to identify communities that may be candidates for TST integration. Results illustrate the need for information provision to communities from resource quantification to characteristics of renewable energy technologies; self sufficiency as being the primary electrification driver; and funding/human resource capacity as being substantial barriers to development. Approximately 89.8 km2 of practical tidal resource is identified, with ≈21.9 km2 of techno-economically feasible practical resource in proximity to nine communities. Four communities appear to be promising candidates for tidal development, and overall results indicate significant interest within the study region for TST development. The interdisciplinary framework presented here provides a methodology that can be adapted and implemented in other jurisdictions to identify practical resources and incorporate social dimensions into MRE decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112032
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date27 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • GIS
  • Interdisciplinary analysis
  • Marine renewable energy
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Multi-criteria decision analysis
  • Net-zero
  • Remote communities
  • Resource characterization
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Sustainable development
  • Tidal stream energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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